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Procurement is key for accessible ICT in the workplace claims new guide
A detailed online resource to help employers purchase effective accessible
technology through their procurement processes has been released.
The guide, called ‘Buy IT!’, has been produced by the US-based
Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT).
The introduction to Buy IT! states that a successful accessible ICT
purchasing strategy means: “doing vendor research, specifying your
requirements, and validating the accessibility of your product choices
prior to accepting and implementing them. Most importantly, it means
approaching ICT procurement with an eye toward accessibility and usability
from the very beginning.”
A detailed step-by-step plan for employers and purchasing staff is then set
out, explaining how to work towards an accessible procurement programme in
three sections: planning, solicitation and ‘post-award’.
The ‘planning’ section explores how employers can gain executive
support for accessible procurement and what to look for when researching
vendors. ‘Solicitation’ gives a thorough grounding in writing an
accessibility-focused procurement solicitation, including requesting
accessibility information from vendors and contractors, and ensuring that
the solicitation documents are fully accessible. As the guide points out,
this last step “is especially useful for attracting vendors that may
employ people with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to access
The final section, ‘post-award’, gives a detailed breakdown of steps to
take when employers are ready to make a contract award. The guide
emphasises the importance of ‘testing and validation’ here, to avoid
potentially difficult scenarios in the next stage of the process: “All
too often, customers take vendors at their word when they say a product is
accessible, and then accept it without testing the product and validating
the claim,” the guide says.
The key to avoiding this situation is ‘acceptance testing’, claims the
guide, which helps determine whether a procured product meets the necessary
criteria drawn up in the sales contract. The guide then goes on to outline
models to test for ICT accessibility.
Read the full Buy IT! resource for purchasing accessible technology at the
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