A new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that just two percent of over 1,000 forms that it reviewed on Federal websites comply with the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA).

The IDEA Act, which became law in  from 2018, requires that executive agencies transition from paper-based to web-based forms in order to modernize services that government provides to citizens. Statutory deadlines for going paperless have since passed “and agencies have made little progress toward making their forms available in an accessible digital format,” the ITIF report says.

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“Digital solutions hold enormous promise to transform U.S. government services,” said Ashley Johnson, a policy analyst at ITIF and co-author of the report. “These solutions can streamline outdated processes and provide Americans with faster, more convenient, and more personalized access to their government.”

ITIF is calling on Congress to focus attention on the agencies’ lack of progress, and is urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other executive agencies to take steps to meet the law’s statutory requirements.

According to the ITIF report, two percent of Federal forms are fully compliant with the IDEA Act. It found that 78 percent of Federal forms are partially compliant with the law, and of those, only 29 percent had a digital signature field.

ITIF made several recommendations to ensure public-serving forms are compliant with the IDEA Act, including:

  • OMB should issue implementation guidance for the 21st Century IDEA Act;
  • Congress should hold oversight hearings for compliance with the law;
  • The Federal CIO Council should create a web-based-forms task force to track and expedite compliance;
  • Congress should require agencies to report detailed information on IDEA Act compliance;
  • The Technology Modernization Fund Board should issue grants to incentivize agencies to use login.gov; and
  • OMB should direct Federal agencies to discontinue the use of fax machines.
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.