Accessible ICT Procurement
What is Public Procurement?
The procurement and acquisition of accessible electronic information and technology is a requirement of the Section 508 guidelines. Public procurement is the process used by public agencies to acquire goods, services, works and other supplies. The use of procurement policies as a social justice vehicle is a modern development in government contract agreements. Cynthia Waddell, web accessibility expert and advocate, provided an overview of accessible ICT mandates, procurement policies and legislation, as well as accessible procurement toolkits in her presentation on Public Procurement of Accessible ICT for the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs.
ICT Procurement Practices for State Agencies: Webinar by Debra Ruh
Debra Ruh is a Global Disability Inclusion Strategist, ICT Accessibility Training and Social Media Thought Leader on Disabilities. She focuses on Disability Inclusion, EmployAbility, Corporate Social Responsibilities, ICT Accessibility, Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurs.
Debra knew that her daughter Sara who was born with Down Syndrome, was capable of great things, even though some experts claimed otherwise. Taking action to prove them wrong, Debra created a path to empowerment and success for those with disabilities. Debra founded her own company to acknowledge the contributions of people with disabilities in both the workplace and the marketplace and provide accessibility consulting solutions to companies around the world.
In April Debra presented a webinar for AccessGA covering information relevant to the procurement of accessible information technology. During the webinar participants learned more about how a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) provides information on how a product or service claims to conform to Section 508 Access Board Accessibility Standards for Electronic and Information Technology. Check out the links below for access to archived webinar resources.
Archived Webinar Recording
Powerpoint Presentation Slides
A Snapshot of Best Practices in State Procurement
A number of states have passed laws requiring state agencies to provide accessible materials and technologies to their constituents. Several states have developed websites with many helpful guides and resources. Here is a snapshot of some of their best practices.
The State of Oklahoma has implemented information technology accessibility procurement purchasing rules that require accessibility determinations to be conducted as part of the IT acquisition evaluation.
What is a VPAT?
Introduction to Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®)
- The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) partnered with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to create a tool to assist Federal contracting and procurement officials in fulfilling the market research requirements contained in the Section 508 implementing regulations.
- The result is the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, or VPAT.
- A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement (using the required template) that provides relevant information on how a vendor’s product or service claims to conform to the Section 508 Standards.
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) Review Checklist
- The VPAT was designed to provide information on how a product or service conforms to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards (from the U.S. Access Board) for Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) in a consistent fashion and format.
- In general, Vendors should generate a VPAT whenever they develop products or services that are determined to be E&IT also known as Internet, Communications and Technology (ICT) and are to be sold in the Federal or State market place.
- In each VPAT, the vendor is expected to make specific statements, in simple understandable (recommended) language, about how their product or service meets the requirements of the Section 508 Standards.