A guide to accessible purchasing
In accordance with the university policy on the Accessibility of Information and Technology, the purchasing policies and procedures were updated during the summer of 2013 to reflect that information and technology needs to be accessible. All information and technology purchases are required to be reviewed for ADA compliance prior to purchase.
This page has the following sections to assist with determining if products are compliant.
- Information and technology used by only one person
- Contract renewals
- Payment/maintenance on existing contracts
- Procuring additional licenses to existing products
- Boxed products
- RFP, RFQ, or RFI
- RFP for maintenance renewals
- Web site or web based content created or provided by a vendor
- Determining the accessibility of a product
- Accessibility Exceptions Requests
If you have questions about determining the accessibility of a product send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If information and/or technology is being purchased for use by one person, it does not need to be reviewed for accessibility. Only when it is being used by two or more people does it require an accessibility review.
When a contract is used to engage a company to provide programs and services to the university it is recommended that the following language be incorporated into the contract, or added as an addendum:
__________(Company) acknowledges and warrants that their Programs and services are currently in compliance and during the Term of this Agreement shall remain in compliance with all applicable Federal disabilities laws and regulations, including without limitation the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d), and its implementing regulations set forth at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1194. ______________(Company) agrees to promptly respond to, resolve and remediate any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services in a timely manner and provide an updated version to Customer at no cost. Customer reserves the right to request, from _____________(Company), a timeline by which accessibility standards will be incorporated into the Programs and _________(Company) shall provide such a timeline within a commercially reasonable duration of time. __________(Company) further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Customer from any claims arising out of its failure to comply with the requirements of this section. Failure to comply with these requirements shall constitute a material breach of this Agreement and shall be grounds for termination of this Agreement by Customer as set forth in Section _____.
These warranties will not apply if the Programs are: (i) modified or altered in any way (other than by ______ (Company) or with the specific prior written consent of ________(Company)); (ii) not updated with the corrections, patches, fixes, updates, improvements or enhancements that ________(Company) may make available from time to time; (iii) used in any manner or for any purpose not specifically permitted by this Agreement or the documentation.
In some instances, Temple University is engaged to fulfill a contract and receive payment. These contracts are also processed through TUmarketplace; however, accessibility reviews are not required for contract approvals where Temple University receives payment for services or products provided.
When a contract is renewed, an accessibility compliance clause or addendum (similar to what is above) should be added to the contract if it does not already appear. In addition, an accessibility review of the product is required before submitting the contract to purchasing if the contract does not have an accessibility clause or addendum. If the product is not fully accessible, an accessibility exceptions request must be submitted and the vendor contacted to determine remediation timeframe.
Once a contract has been signed, subsequent payments to the vendor (i.e. to pay for maintenance) will not require an accessibility review unless the contract (or maintenance contract) is being renewed. If the contract is being renewed, an accessibility compliance clause or addendum (similar to what is above) should be added to the contract. If the accessibility clause or addendum is not added to the contract then the product must be reviewed for accessibility and an accessibility exceptions request submitted if the product is not fully accessible.
Temple typically receives invoices for one of the following reasons:
- Invoice for payment on product that was previously purchased.
Invoices for previously purchased projects can be paid without requiring an accessibility review.
- Invoice for a maintenance or license renewal
Invoices for maintenance or license renewals need to have an accessibility review of the product, and an approved exception if the product is not fully compliant, before payment can be made.
- Invoice for payment on a product that is newly purchased
Newly purchased items need to be reviewed for accessibility, and an approved exception if the product is not fully compliant, before payment can be made. For this reason it is important to evaluate product accessibility and obtain an accessibility exception, if necessary, before it is purchased and invoiced.
The procurement of additional licenses to an existing, previously purchased, product can be processed without an accessibility review of the product.
When working with boxed products (pre-packaged products from a vendor, for example shrink wrapped software), there are two common scenarios: when you have a sales representative, and when you don't.
Working with a sales representative
When looking to procure/renew products and you have the contact information for a sales representative, it is recommended that you solicit them for the accessibility of their products. Suggested wording is:
Temple University requires that all information and technology must be compliant with Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and other related local, state, and federal laws, as well as other related university policies. Could you provide either a statement on the accessibility of [name of product or service], or a current Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for the software? If you're not familiar with a VPAT, we recommend using the CSU Guide to Completing the Voluntary Product Evaluation Template (VPAT). If [name of product or service] is not fully compliant, do you have (or would you be willing to create) a roadmap for accessibility that you can share with us? If you do not have one, an accessibility roadmap template is available.
Regardless if the vendor provides, or doesn't provide you with the requested information, the product must be reviewed for accessibility. See the section “determining the accessibility of a product” for how to perform an accessibility review.
Working without a sales representative
Sometimes you are buying a product and don't have a sales representative. During these situations it can be difficult to determine the accessibility of a product. Some suggested strategies are:
- Search for '508' or 'VPAT' on the manufacturer's website.
- Find the contact information for the manufacturer, call them, and ask someone at the company for information on the accessibility of their product (hopefully a VPAT).
- Use Google or another search engine to look for a VPAT or a 508 compliance statement for the product you're looking to purchase.
Once you have performed your search, refer to the section “determining the accessibility of a product.”
When crafting an RFP, RFQ or RFI for information or technology products or services, include Accessibility as one of the requirements. The following wording is recommended:
In the requirements section include:
- Temple requires that all purchases be accessible according to Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
In section listing the various questions that vendors need to respond to, include:
x.x.0. Are all interfaces (both for administrators and end-users) that are part of your product compliant with Section 508 and/or WCAG 2.0 AA?
x.x.1. Describe your accessibility conformance testing process.
x.x.2. Have you ever worked with Accessibility as a functional requirement?
x.x.3. Who will pay to remediate any necessary fixes after purchase?
x.x.4. Provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for your product. If you're not familiar with a VPAT, we recommend using the CSU Guide to Completing the Voluntary Product Evaluation Template (VPAT).
x.x.5. If your product is not fully accessible, do you have a roadmap to make your product fully compliant? If so, include your roadmap. If you do not have one, an accessibility roadmap template is available if needed.
RFP's, which are created for maintenance renewals, must have an accessibility review of the product.
Temple University has adopted WCAG 2.0 level AA for web based content. Therefore, include in the specifications that the site be compliant with WCAG 2.0 level AA, and ask the vendor to provide accessibility testing results. Lastly there should be a clause in the contract for remediation of the site or content if it is determined that the site is not fully accessible. The clause should also state that remediation must be done in a reasonable timeframe at no charge to the university, provided there is still an active maintenance contract. See the contract section for suggested wording.
If you have a VPAT or a statement of accessibility
If you have obtained a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and it has sections that are labeled as “Supports with Exceptions” or “Not Supported” then the product is not fully accessible and you should investigate other products which are fully accessible to meet your business needs. If a VPAT is not available, but the vendor has an accessibility statement, it should clearly state if the product is fully accessible, or compliant, with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, or (if web based content) WCAG 2.0. In the event that no product which meets your business needs is fully accessible, then an Accessibility Exceptions Request form should be completed, and submitted to your School or College Accessibility Liaison, or Brent Whiting if you are in an administrative department or there is no Accessibility Liaison (read more about the exceptions request process).
If the product is fully accessible, provide the information (e.g. a URL to the accessibility statement or VPAT, or a copy of an email from the vendor stating that it’s fully compliant) to your Accessibility Liaison (or to email@example.com if you do not have an Accessibility Liaison) and ask for confirmation that it’s approved for purchase. Attach their email response to the TUmarketplace requisition.
If the product is not fully accessible, but an exception request has been approved, you should include a note (an email from firstname.lastname@example.org or from your Accessibility Liaison) with your requisition that it has been approved for purchase.
If you do not have a VPAT or statement of accessibility
If you are unable to find any information on the accessibility of the product, then you should look for another product which is fully accessible that meets your business needs. In the event that no product which meets your business needs is fully accessible, or the product that does meet your business needs does not have a VPAT or a statement of accessibility, then an Accessibility Exceptions Request form should be completed, and submitted to your School or College Accessibility Liaison, or Brent Whiting if you are in an administrative department or there is no Accessibility Liaison.
If the exception request has been approved, you should include a note (an email from email@example.com or from your Accessibility Liaisons) with your requisition that it has been approved for purchase.
In the event that no product which meets your business needs is fully accessible, then an Accessibility Exceptions Request form should be completed.
Once the form is received it will be reviewed for completeness and determined if it needs to be reviewed by the Accessible Technology Compliance Committee. If it needs to go to the Accessible Technology Compliance Committee, it will be sent to them and a final decision will be made in six business days following receipt. The initial requestor will be sent an email with the final decision. If the exception is granted, it is approved for two years.
You are required to obtain Accessibilities approval prior to submitting a requisition to purchasing. Please make sure to attach the approval to your requisition.