1. Writing an RFT

This section provides samples of text describing accessibility requirements that you can cut and paste into an RFT (request for tenders), pre-qualification questionnaire or descriptive document (in the case of a competitive dialogue procedure). The RFT may also be referred to as the 'tender document'. Private sector operators may refer to it as a 'request for proposals (RFP)', 'request for quotations (RFQ)' or 'invitation to tender (ITT)'. You can either put them into a separate “accessibility” section of the RFT or add them into existing sections on functionality, evaluation, etc. The wording given here may need to be modified slightly to fit your exact requirements, but the substantial content should be suitable for most procurements.

For more information, see general guidance on specifying accessibility requirements.

Tenderer Selection Criteria

If you are specifying selection criteria for assessing the suitability of tenderers or candidates, you can introduce a requirement for accessibility expertise under the standards for technical and/or professional ability. One way of doing this might be to include the following text in the RFT or pre-qualification questionnaire.

Universal Design Experience

Tenderers should demonstrate relevant experience of applying universal design principles and providing solutions that are accessible to the widest user audience, including older users and users with disabilities.

If you ask tenderers to provide examples of previous work, make sure to ask for examples of accessible previous work.

General Accessibility Targets

Accessibility should be made an explicit factor in the award criteria. It is good to start by describing the general accessibility targets that the procured item should meet. The following text is suitable.

Accessibility Targets

The <procured item> should be accessible to all potential users, including older people and people with disabilities. As far as possible, it should:

  • Be technically accessible, in that it is possible for all
    users to access all information and functionality;
  • Be equally usable, in that it is not prohibitively difficult
    or time consuming for users with disabilities to carry out normal
  • Be capable of being adapted or configured by individual users
    to meet their specific needs and preferences;
  • Be capable of interfacing with appropriate, widely available
    assistive technologies employed by users.

To help tenderers understand the basic requirements, information about accessibility principles and guidelines should be made available to them. You can do this by including a reference to the Irish National IT Accessibility Guidelines.

Accessibility Targets for Specific Technologies

After stating the general accessibility targets, you will need to state specific targets relating to the technologies to be procured. For appropriate sample text, choose one of the following technology types:

Development Process

If you are procuring an item such as a website that will have to be designed and developed, i.e. One that is not an off-the-shelf product, it is essential that the supplier follows an appropriate development process. This process should be based on universal design principles. The following text is suitable for describing the type of development process that suppliers should adopt.

Development Process

Design and implementation should be carried out in accordance with an inclusive, user-centred process, based on universal design principles. Tenders should outline the main features of this process, such as:

  • How user requirements including the specific needs of people with disabilities will be gathered and used;
  • How user needs will be identified and taken into account; and
  • Methods of consultation with users, including people with
    disabilities or their representatives.

Quality Assurance

The quality assurance that suppliers carry out as part of their development process should also cover accessibility. The following text is suitable for describing an appropriate approach to including accessibility in quality assurance.

Quality Assurance

Prior to delivery the <procured item> should be tested or otherwise evaluated for usability and accessibility as part of the quality assurance process. Tenders should outline the main evaluation methods to be used, such as:

  • Accessibility audit carried out by an accessibility expert.
    please state the credentials of the expert who will carry out the
    Audit; and
  • User testing by representative users, including users with
    disabilities. please describe the test environment, procedures and user group

Tenderers may employ either or both of the above methodologies or propose their own set of methodologies.

If you feel you know enough about accessibility and accessibility evaluation, you might consider specifying particular test methods to be used, profiles of end-users to be included in the test panel and a required format for a test results deliverable. However, you should be careful not to constrain suppliers unnecessarily. In particular, you should avoid stating requirements for the use of specific analysis or testing tools (for example, see a note about Bobby).


If you are procuring an information system such as a database or website, the content will change over time. As new content is added and existing content modified, it will have to remain accessible. This may require staff training in producing accessible content. Training may also be required to upskill technical staff with responsibility for administering the new system.

The following text is suitable for describing training requirements that will enable you to maintain the accessibility of the procured item and any information content.


The successful tenderer will be required to provide any training necessary to enable <your organisation> staff to maintain the accessibility of the product and its information content. If any such training is necessary, tenders should include proposals and plans for this training.

Evaluation of Deliverables

The deliverables you receive as a result of the procurement will need to be evaluated against the accessibility requirements stated in the RFT. You may feel you have enough expertise within your team to carry out a thorough evaluation yourself. However, if you do not have sufficient expertise, you may decide to bring in third-party evaluators to carry out accessibility auditing and testing. If this is likely to be the case, you should mention it in the RFT. See evaluating deliverables for more on this.

The following text is suitable for alerting suppliers that you will be carrying out third-party evaluation.

Evaluation of Deliverables

The delivered <item> will be evaluated for accessibility by an independent third-party prior to sign-off. The evaluation will take into account all the accessibility requirements specified in this RFT. It will be arranged and funded by <the organisation>.

Accessibility Policy

If you have a written It accessibility policy, you should consider including it with the contract notice or documents.