Standards for Prospective Web Vendors
All vendors providing web services to House offices are required to abide by the rules, regulations, and procedures of the House. The rules, regulations, and procedures of the House are not the same as the rules of the U.S. Senate or the rules of the Federal Executive Branch. Vendors must clearly understand these rules and regulations before finalizing any engagement with a House client or beginning any development work.
Over 500 offices of the U.S. House of Representatives maintain a website accessible by the general public. Each office manages their website independently and may elect to expend funds to hire a vendor to design and develop a site.
House offices with websites include:
- The 441 Representatives (435 Members, 5 Delegates, 1 Resident Commissioner)
- The Committees of the House (with a separate website for each full committee and the minority party office of each committee)
- The Leadership offices of the House
- The Officers and Officials of the House
Steps to Becoming a Web Vendor
On January 9, 2012, the Committee on House Administration approved new policies governing how private vendors are to provide public web services to the offices of the House. All vendors—including vendors who have previously provided web services to House offices or who are currently providing web services to House offices—must comply with these policies no later than February 1, 2012, as a condition of being eligible to do business with the House. The new policies supersede all previous policies governing the provision of web services to offices of the House and supersede any previous agreements made between vendors and any office of the House.
Steps to Becoming a Web Vendor summarizes the actions that all vendors are now required to perform in order to provide web services to offices of the House. For more information, contact the CAO Web Assistance staff of the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 226-2140.
Content and Technology Overview
Servers and Platforms
All House websites must reside on servers that are located within the House data network. The external hosting of House websites is not permitted.
The House Drupal Platform
The House Drupal platform is open to vendors to host websites developed for House clients. Prospective Drupal vendors should contact CAO Web Assistance at email@example.com or (202) 226-2140. Prospective Drupal vendors must not begin development or finalize an engagement with House clients until completing the mandatory vendor consultation as described above.
Other Technology Platforms
Vendors wishing to provide other technology platforms should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 226-2140 for more information.
Web vendors will only be paid for work that has passed a security audit conducted by the House Information Security Office. Before a new, redesigned, or significantly changed website is published for an office of the House, it must successfully pass an audit conducted by the Security Office. Websites that have not successfully passed the Security Office audit will not be published.
House websites are also subject to post-publication audits by the Security Office. If a vendor-maintained House website fails a post-publication security audit, the vendor is responsible for promptly bringing the website into compliance.
Please review the Steps to Becoming a Web Vendor for vendor requirements and standards.
The website for each Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner of the House must comply with the web standards set out in the Members’ Congressional Handbook. The website of each Committee of the House (and of the Minority office of each Committee of the House) must comply with the web standards set out in the Committees’ Congressional Handbook. The Chairman of the House Administration Committee has issued the following “Dear Colleague” letters to explain the application of the web standards contained in the two handbooks:
- Helping the Victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami, March 18, 2011;
- Helping the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake, January 22, 2010;
- Helping the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, September 2, 2005;
- Updated E-mail Policy Related to Subscriber Lists, September 8, 2003; and
- Supporting Our Troops Web Sites, March 25, 2003.
All House websites must also comply with the following standards:
- House Ethics Manual (2008 edition, see especially pp. 131, 160-161, and 177-178);
- accessibility standards issued pursuant to §508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (see 34 C.F.R. part 1194);
- House Information Technology Policy for Office Domain Names;
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 issued by the World Wide Web Consortium; and
- XHTML 1.0 The Extensible Hypertext Mark-up Language (Second Edition) Recommendation issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (or any subsequent replacement of this standard adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium).
All firms providing web services to House offices are encouraged to review and follow Web Systems’ Suggested Web Site Best Practices.
Material prepared by (or for) a House office is not copyrightable and should not have a copyright notice.
Copyrighted material should be used on House websites only with the written permission of the copyright owner.
Copyrighted images or photographs should not be photo-edited (or otherwise altered) unless the copyright owner has given written permission for the alteration (permission to use copyrighted material does not imply permission to alter the material).
House websites may not include any advertisement for any private individual, firm, or corporation, or imply in any manner that the government endorses or favors any specific commercial product, commodity, or service. Other than in comments in the source code, House websites should not contain any reference to the firm or developer who designed, coded, or maintains the website.