1. Establish your business case
Accessible procurement is essential to diversity, inclusion and belonging, helps avoid legal and reputational risks, and promotes employee and customer satisfaction. Need to convince teams or executive leadership that accessible procurement is “good for business?” Review these resources and internal advocacy tools that support the business case for disability inclusion and digital accessibility.
2. Develop accessible procurement policies
Accessible procurement policies tell suppliers that an organization expects the technology it purchases to be accessible to everyone in the workforce and beyond. Vendor accessibility policies demonstrate a commitment to providing accessible products and services. From developing a broad coverage statement to a focus on specific software and technology scope, a strong policy includes language on application, exceptions, maintenance, and definitions to clarify commitment and responsibilities. Explore details of accessible procurement policies. Training cross-organizational teams is essential to effective implementation of policies once they are adopted. Learn more about training and educating for accessible procurement.
3. Update supplier code of conduct and other procurement documents
Buyers should be transparent with their suppliers about accessible procurement requirements. Update your Supplier Codes of Conduct, Master Services Agreements, requests for proposals, contracts, and related documents and terms to clearly state your organization’s commitment to accessibility, required standards, testing protocols, evaluation process, use of specific assistive technologies, and maintenance plans. Find examples of procurement documents from Disability:IN partners and industry leaders and review more details on contract language, terms, and related practices. This is also an opportunity to integrate a public-facing accessibility statement into the vendor onboarding processes, deliverables and other performance requirements.
Developing a software inventory provides information your organization needs to categorize and prioritize technology for accessibility focus/remediation. Learn how to categorize and prioritize digital tools for accessibility remediation. Accessibility does not end with remediation. Accessibility language should be part of post-contract governance and included in the warranty section of new and renewed agreements. Internal processes for remediation tracking should also be established.
5. Define requirements for new and renewed purchases and licenses
Accessibility requirements in procurement contracts must be transparent and detailed. Include legal, accessibility, and usability requirements and standards. Learn how to define requirements for new and renewed purchases and licenses.
6. Ask good questions
True workplace, supply chain, and marketplace accessibility demands detailed questions and accurate, confirmed answers about both the particular product or service and a vendor’s overall commitment to accessibility. Get started with the Accessible Procurement Questions. Learn more about investigating accessibility of products, services, and vendor commitment. Good questions produce answers that need evaluation. Read about evaluating bids with an accessibility lens, and how to integrate information from a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) into your procurement process.
7. Test products for accessibility
Accessible procurement doesn’t end when the contract is signed. It’s important to make sure your delivered product meets contract accessibility requirements, and that you adopt best practices to keep accessibility on track after the product is in use. This can be done by placing testing requirements in contracts and evaluating test results at delivery and during contract term. Best practices include assigning accessibility and usability testing as a role in the procurement process, developing a testing checklist, and continuing testing during product usage and renewals.
8. Ensure organizational accountability
The commitment to accessible procurement is best supported by a culture of accessibility with clear roles and responsibilities, enabling organizational accountability by both buyers and sellers. Embedding accessibility into procurement teams can help, as can developing cross-functional teams and leadership with clarity about flow and order. Consider creating a Sourcing/Procurement Officer to ensure compliance with digital accessibility regulations and requirements. Learn more ways to elevate accessibility as a priority throughout your organization. Strong buyer / seller relationships pay dividends along your accessible procurement journey. Discover ideas to make vendor relations part of your organization’s accessibility culture. And learn how buyers can help suppliers understand accessibility.
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How to Contribute to this Resource
Please help us improve this resource. We welcome all feedback: were these building blocks helpful? How could they be improved? What else would you expect to find in this resource?
Does your organization have documents or resources such as accessible procurement building blocks you are able to share? If so, we’d love to include it in our Procure Access resources (with or without attribution).
Contact Jeff Wissel, Disability:IN’s Chief Accessibility Officer with your feedback or to share resources.
This resource was created by Disability:IN’s Procure Access initiative. Visit the Procure Access page of the Disability:IN website to learn more about Procure Access and Disability:IN’s work to advance accessible procurement in the global business community.