5. Procurement and Accessibility Policy

Stating Accessibility Requirements

There are a variety of circumstances where accessibility requirements may need to be explicitly stated, for example:

  • Requests for proposals (RFP)
  • Purchase contracts
  • Purchasing procedures
  • Design specifications

There may be other documents in an organization that also require accessibility statements or requirements, such as process documents or literature about the organization or its products. An organization’s accessibility committee members may be asked to gather relevant documents from their respective areas within the organization in order to produce a full list of relevant document-accessibility statements. Here, we will look at RFPs, and the request for accessibility information they should contain.

Request for Proposals (RFP)

General Accessibility Statement

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) provides a number of examples for wording that could be included in RFPs, for organizations in the U.S. (see Sample 1 below). We have provided an AODA-adapted version (see Sample 2 below). While statements such as these make relatively clear what the requirements are to a person knowledgeable in accessibility-related issues, they may not be explicit enough to produce a good description of the product’s accessibility features. Such wording also uses absolute language such as “Applicants must state their level of compliance….” Given that many products may not fully comply, language such as this can be used as a starting point, but it should be supplemented with more specific requirements.

Sample 1: Contained in a Request for Proposal (Section 508)NOTICE – All electronic and information technology (EIT) procured through this RFP must meet the applicable accessibility standards of 36 CFR 1194. 36 CFR 1194 implements Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and is viewable at the following URL: http://www.section508.gov The following Section 508 technical standards are applicable to this RFP, as a minimum: “Software Applications and Operating Systems (1194.21)”, “Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22)”, “Video or Multimedia Products (1194.24) C.4” Applicants must state their level of compliance to applicable sections to be considered for purchase under this RFP.

Sample 2: Contained in a Request for Proposal (AODA)NOTICE – All information and communication technology (ICT) procured through this RFP must meet the accessibility standards of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations (IASR) Reg. 191/11, s. 14 and O. Reg. 191/11, s. 15. Regulation 191/11, s. 14 implements the Information and Communications Standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), with regard to accessible websites and web content, and Regulation 191/11, s. 15 with regard to Educational and training resources and materials, viewable at the following URL: http://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/110191#BK15. The associated technical standards for these regulations are specified in the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, viewable at the following URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/. Applicants must state their level of compliance to applicable sections to be considered for purchase under this RFP.

Specific Accessibility Requirements

Consider developing a specific list of accessibility requirements for vendors, using the WCAG 2.0 10 Key Guidelines introduced in Unit 2 as a starting point, as well as any other requirements your organization may deem necessary.

With this strategy in mind, we have created a sample checklist for vendors. The checklist is structured so that vendors can easily indicate their level of compliance with various requirements, and also provide explanations for the indicated state of compliance. These explanations are particularly important for items identified as “partially compliant.”

Toolkit: Download the Sample Vendor Accessibility Compliance Checklist [PDF] and add it to your Toolkit. Depending on the type of product being procured, not all of the 10 Key Guidelines may be relevant. Adjust the list accordingly to specify only those features relevant to the product type being procured.


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Digital Accessibility as a Business Practice Copyright © 2018 by Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.