Writing a call for tenders

Accessibility can be addressed in a call for tender in each of the:

1. Selection Criteria

a) Define and ask for Selection Criteria for accessibility. This may involve requiring the supplier to provide a statement of their capacity to supply or develop accessible ICT, such as that in Appendix A, and providing evidence in the form of a declaration.

b) Evaluate supplier statements on accessibility capacity and ability.

c) Ask for references from previous work to check for accessibility.

2. Technical Specifications

a) Define accessibility in the Technical Specification.

This can be done with reference to the Functional Performance Statements, where the needs or requirements are known but the type of technology required is not known. Where the type of technology is known, the Functional Accessibility Requirements can be used.

b) Ask the tenderer to supply evidence of conformance.

There are different types or levels of conformance attestation that can be requested, which vary in terms of credibility and detail, from a statement by the tenderer (a ‘first party declaration’) that a product complies with a requirement, to a third party conformity attestation.

Where the procuring body decides to require a declaration of conformity with EN 301 549 as evidence, tenderers can do this in three ways:

i.  They can declare that they have met the user needs expressed in the functional performance statements and provide the necessary additional evidence to support this claim. This evidence could include the results of user trials, evidence from previous installations of similar ICT, or any other evidence that the supplier believes supports their assertion.

ii. They can declare that they have met all of the applicable testable requirements that appear in clauses 5 to 13 of the EN. These requirements specify a minimum, but testable, set of requirements that support the functional performance statements. ICT that meets these requirements is deemed to have met a level of accessibility consistent with the functional performance statements that describe the user needs.

iii. They can declare how many of the testable requirements which appear in clauses 5 to 13 of the EN they have met. If they have not met all of the testable requirements, they can provide additional evidence to show how they have fully met the user needs that are addressed by the testable requirements that they have not met.

3. Award Criteria

a) Include accessibility in the Award Criteria

Accessibility should be one of the Award Criteria for determining which tender offers the best value for money. Accessibility Award Criteria can, for example, be based on range of people gaining benefit, range of disabilities gaining benefit, interoperability with assistive technologies, and innovativeness of a proposed technical solution. Procuring bodies should consult organisations of and for disabled people for getting advice on areas and technologies where accessibility should be improved. Where tenders are to be evaluated on the basis of the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), it is typical that a matrix of weighted criteria is defined in the Call for Tenders. There are a number of ways to include accessibility requirements in the matrix:

 i. group all of them together within a separate 'Accessibility' criterion;
 ii. include them as part of a more general 'Usability' or 'Ease of use' criterion; or
 iii. spread them across criteria such as 'Quality and technical merit' or 'Expertise and skills of assigned personnel'.

b) Ask the tenderer to supply evidence of fulfilment of accessibility Award Criteria.

As previously, the types or levels of conformance can vary from a first party statement to a third party conformity attestation.