TMF adds guidance for IDEA Act proposals

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Agencies have until Sept. 22 to send in submissions for funding.

As agencies await guidance for the 21st Century IDEA Act — a law signed in 2018 requiring the government to improve online services — officials can get started on proposals based on the act for the Technology Modernization Fund. 

The TMF website now houses guidelines for proposals on 21st Century IDEA Act implementation, a page added on Monday, according to archived versions of the website housed on the nonprofit Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine.

“The TMF Board is seeking proposals for projects aimed at implementing the 21st Century IDEA,” specifically, “improving web accessibility; and/or digitizing public-facing forms,” the website says.

The board will accept submissions through Sept. 22 on a rolling basis. After that point, “submissions may be accepted… but proposal approval is subject to the TMF’s available funding,” the website says. 

Agencies can expect a “new, streamlined process” for projects that meet TMF criteria and are aimed at web accessibility and digitization, according to the website. The TMF Program Management Office will support agencies in the application process, it says, including help with determining “what level of project repayment is appropriate.” TMF relaxed its model from a full repayment system to a more flexible, tiered approach in 2021.

The 21st Century IDEA Act includes requirements for agencies to modernize websites, digitize services and forms, improve customer service and more, although lawmakers have said that implementation has been inconsistent and called for OMB to release guidance.

In May, Martorana told Nextgov/FCW that guidance for the law was coming this summer.

"The guidance is really simple," said Martorana at the time. "It's digital-first, mobile-first, totally accessible, electronic signatures, modernizing forms. It is the government we want to have, so that the public can interact with us in a completely digital way that is simple and seamless [and], obviously, secure."