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Procurement for accessible IT products and services

Information, tools and forms about  and IT procurement and accessibility.


Overview

Accessibility Support

The Access-IT Master Contract Program supports the State of Minnesota's objective to improve the accessibility and usability of information technology products and services for all government end-users.

Vendor Assessment

The procurement process typically requires vendors to submit VPATs (Voluntary Product Assessment Templates) detailing the accessibility of their products. The following documents provide some background and guidance for all parties in the process. Regardless of your role, you may want to review all the documents to understand how the pieces fit together:

Download the VPAT forms: Section 508 and WCAG 2.0.

For more information about processes in place to promote the procurement of accessible products and services, see Section 26 of the Professional Technical Services Contract Manual.

Exceptions

For more information about exceptions and how to apply for them, see the Exceptions Form in our Policies and Standards section.

 
 

IT Products


Most IT products that are part of the MN.IT Standards program are fully or partially accessible, and any new product will be evaluated for accessibility.

If you need accessibility information about a particular IT product, request that the vendor provide a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, an industry-wide form that provides accessibility information) Download a VPAT forms (Section 508 & WCAG 2.0)

If you are buying a non-standard IT product or buying with your Authority of Local Purchase (ALP), then you should still require the vendor to provide you a VPAT with information about the accessibility of the product.

Many companies provide completed VPATs for their products on their web site. This is becoming standard practice in the IT products industry simply because the U.S. Government and other entities require accessibility information about products.


Did you know?

All desktop and laptop computers in the MN.IT standards program are accessible.

 
 

Professional Services


The State of Minnesota has established a process to promote the procurement of accessible products and services, including professional services. The process was designed to leverage existing processes and procedures so that procurement staff can easily navigate their way toward greater accessibility. An overview of the process and associated tools and templates can be found at:

Professional services acquired under the Master Contract programs administered by the Office of Enterprise Technology and the Department of Administration including the ASAP-IT and 902TS programs have accessibility requirements already built into existing contractual agreements and templates.  The terms of the contracts and work order templates utilized under these programs require adherence to the State’s adopted IT Accessibility Standards which largely incorporate the federal Section 508 standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at level AA.


Did you know?

Including accessibility requirements from the beginning dramatically reduces costs in the long-run. 

 
 

Resources


Section 26 of the Professional Technical Services Contract Manual provides a complete view of how the Accessibility Standards are incorporated into the state’s IT procurement processes. It includes process steps with links to templates and tools.

All State of Minnesota IT Professional/Technical Contract Forms include language that promotes the procurement of accessible products and services. This link also includes tools developed by the Department of Administration specifically related to ensuring that the Accessibility standards are appropriately applied.

If you need accessibility information about a particular IT product, request that the vendor provide a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, an industry-wide form that provides accessibility information) Download the VPAT forms (Section 508 & WCAG 2.0).

As accessibility becomes part of your IT development process, your staff will become familiar with the IT Accessibility standards and they will know exactly which accessibility requirements need to be included in the technical requirements for any soicitation.

If a vendor is doing some or all of the development work, the contract should specify the accessibility requirements. Your team should also be ready to validate and test the solution for accessibility.

For more information about procurement and accessibility, contact the Department of Administration-Materials Management Division.


Did you know?

Including accessibility requirements from the beginning dramatically reduces costs in the long run.