Why you need an accessibility procurement policy

On 1 February, the University of Wyoming announced it was introducing a procurement policy that includes accessibility requirements. In future, hardware, software products and website design or maintenance must be Section 508 compliant. The policy then goes on to give advice to those buying in services on testing and evaluating the accessibility of those services.

We have long advocated that any organisation buying in digital services should build in contractual terms that require the product to be accessible to WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Too often we see organisations asking us to test new products, only to realise that what they have bought is not accessible. If there was no requirement for accessibility within the original purchase agreement, then further development costs could add considerably to the original project.

If a customer tries using your website and has difficulties, in many countries, thanks to equality laws like the UK Equality Act 2010, they could take legal action against you.

We would encourage everyone to follow the example set by the University of Wyoming and set up a procurement policy that includes clear guidelines to anyone wanting to provide a service to your company. If you aren’t sure what you need – contact us and we will be happy to help you.

The information in this article is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact an adviser or solicitor.

Update to blog post September 2018 – WCAG 2.1

Please note that WCAG 2.0 has been updated and replaced with WCAG 2.1. The three levels remain the same, A, AA and AAA. Our blog post details the changes What is WCAG 2.1