Federal Web Managers Council
|Purpose||Improve delivery of United States government's online information and services|
The Federal Web Managers Council (Web Council) is an interagency group of senior federal government Web managers and new media directors who work together to improve the delivery of United States government information and services online. Established in 2004, its current mission is to provide opportunities for collaboration among U.S. government Web and new media professionals. It also recommends policies and guidelines for all U.S. federal public websites.
The Web Council serves as the steering committee for the much larger Web Content Managers Forum, a network of more than 2,000 government Web managers across the country. Among other activities, the Web Council organizes training events and conferences through DigitalGov University (formerly Web Manager University), coordinates the work of its various Sub-Councils, and helps modernize federal policies to enhance the online delivery of government services and information. It also manages the HowTo.gov website.
Most recently the Web Council has been involved in the .gov reform effort. On December 16, 2011, the .gov Reform Task Force released the "State of the Federal Web Report", which highlights for the first time the size and scope of U.S. federal websites.
The Web Council started as the Web Content Management Working Group. It was founded in January 2004 at the request of the Office of Management and Budget by the Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI). Its mission was to recommend policies and guidelines for all U.S. federal public websites, to comply with Sections 207(f)(1) and (2) of the E-Government Act of 2002 and with other requirements. In June 2004 the group issued its recommendations to the ICGI, and those became the foundation for the website WebContent.gov (now HowTo.gov). The Web Council now guides the work of several Sub-Councils and the Web Content Managers Forum, a community of more than 2,000 Web professionals from federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal U.S. government agencies. Members communicate and collaborate through a listserv and the Forum website.
Mission and goals
The mission of the Web Council is to provide a venue for U.S. government Web and new media professionals to work together and share common challenges, ideas, and best practices. Its goal is to create citizen-focused and visitor-friendly government websites.
Membership in the Web Council is limited to "Web and New Media Directors from federal Cabinet agencies; designated Congressional support agencies; major independent and sub-agencies that deliver top citizen tasks; and Sub-Council Co-Chairs." Members work in various offices of their respective agencies, including Policy, Communications and Marketing, Public Affairs, and CIO.
The Web Council is managed by two co-Chairs and is sponsored by the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. Because members are located in offices across the country, most work is done through conference calls and online collaboration. The Forum holds monthly conference calls on the third Thursday of each month. The Web Council also sponsors several Sub-Councils, which cover a variety of content management and website governance areas, including:
- Accessibility/Section 508
- Governance and Operations
- Multilingual Websites
- Social Media and Citizen Engagement
- Technology and Innovation
- Training and Development
- User Experience/Usability
Among other activities, the Web Council:
- manages HowTo.gov, a website of requirements and best practices intended to help federal government employees improve customer service;
- serves as the steering committee for the Web Content Managers Forum (the Forum), an ad hoc community of more than 2,000 federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal U.S. government Web and new media professionals who manage the content of government websites;
- manages the Forum listserv for community members to exchange ideas;
- organizes training events and conferences for government Web and new media professionals through DigitalGov University (formerly Web Manager University);
- collaborates across government agencies to modernize policies and improve the federal government's ability to manage and deliver online information and services, including records management, Plain Writing initiatives, and the use of social media in government.
With GSA, the Web Council has co-sponsored the Government Web and New Media Conference, held annually, since 2004.
The Web Council has produced white papers in support of the Obama administration's Open Government Initiative. These include the 2008 report "Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Government" and its follow-up report, "2010 Progress Report – Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Government."
Most recently the Web Council has been involved in the .gov reform effort, part of President Obama's Campaign to Cut Waste by "identifying unnecessary websites that can be consolidated into other websites to reduce costs and improve the quality of service to the American public." On December 16, 2011, the .gov Reform Task Force released the "State of the Federal Web Report", which highlights for the first time the size and scope of U.S. federal websites, how agencies are managing them, and opportunities for improvement. The report contains data collected between August and October 2011, including a .gov Web Inventory, a Web Governance Survey, Web Improvement Plans, and a National Dialogue on Improving Federal Websites. Current federal CIO Steven VanRoekel noted that the report is an "opportunity" for federal agencies to "'get smart' about consolidation, sharing platforms and computing resources."
In cooperation with GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, the Web Council manages HowTo.gov, "a website to help government workers deliver a better customer experience to citizens." The primary audience for the site is U.S. federal government employees and contractors working on federal agency websites; but state, local, territorial, tribal, and international government employees may also use the site and provide feedback. In 2009, Government Computer News named the site (formerly WebContent.gov) one of the "Great dot-gov Web Sites" for the year.
- "Federal Web Managers Council". HowTo.gov. November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "Federal Web Managers Council Charter". May 2011
- Flagg, Rachel (May 2011). "Introduction to the Federal Web Managers Council". Journal of Software Technology (Data & Analysis Center for Software) 14 (2): 22–25. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- "Web Content Managers Forum Call". HowTo.gov. January 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- "Prepared remarks of Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero at the annual Records Administration Conference in Washington, DC". National Archives. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Final Guidance on Implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010" (memorandum M-11-15). Washington, DC: Office of Management and Budget. April 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-03
- Federal Web Managers Council (December 2008). Social Media and the Federal Government: Perceived and Real Barriers and Potential Solutions (Report). pp. 4. http://www.howto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/SocialMediaFed%20Govt_BarriersPotentialSolutions.pdf. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- "GSA Hosts 2010 Government Web & New Media Conference". ExecutiveGov. April 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Federal Web Managers Council (November 2008). Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Government – A White Paper Written for the 2008–2009 Presidential Transition Team (Report). pp. 4. http://www.howto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Federal_Web_Managers_WhitePaper.pdf. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Federal Web Managers Council (April 2010). Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Government – 2010 Progress Report (Report). pp. 5. http://www.howto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Federal_Web_Managers_WhitePaper.pdf. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- ".gov Reform Effort: Improving Federal Websites". USA.gov. January 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- .gov Reform Task Force (December 16, 2011). State of the Federal Web Report (Report). pp. 60. http://www.usa.gov/webreform/state-of-the-web.pdf. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- Walker, Molly Bernhart (December 19, 2011). "VanRoekel pushes 'smart' federal website reform". FierceGovernmentIT. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- "About Us". HowTo.gov. December 22, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Special Report: Great dot-gov Web Sites 2009". Government Computer News. July 27, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-03.