Information & Communication Technology Procurement

The University purchases Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that is universal in design and accessible to individuals with disabilities. In the event this is technically unfeasible, the procedures must require the University to provide equally effective alternate ICTs. All ICTs must meet the applicable accessibility standards set forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.

ICT Purchasing Request Process

STEP ONE: Research

Address Accessibility. Review accessibility needs early in your third-party product and vendor evaluations.

  • Research which products/services are available for your needs
  • Review Important Questions to Ask Your Vendor
  • Request compliant accessibility documentation from the vendor, using a Vendor Product Accessibility Template
  • Request and obtain the vendor's most recent accessibility testing results and remediation roadmap
  • Perform your own testing of web products using the WAVE Tool and the SiteImprove Accessibility Checker (both are free Chrome Browser extensions)

STEP TWO: Submit for ICT Review

Gather and Submit Accessibility Documentation. Collect product information and follow EIT approval process.

  • Gather accessibility documentation from vendor, including the following:
    • VPAT for products
    • 508 Accessibility Statement for services
    • Vendor's accessibility testing results and roadmap
    • Satisfactory answers to vendor questions from Step One
  • Complete and submit the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Software Accessibility Review form and attach accessibility documentation
  • After the ICT review has been completed, the requestor will receive a final determination statement by email from the Accessibility Review Committee

STEP THREE: Complete Purchase

Submit NSHE Purchase Request. After receiving ICT final approval, complete the purchase according to NSHE BCN General Purchasing Guidelines.

What to do if your ITC request is not accessible? 

If your accessibility review documentation indicates the product or service is not accessible, you can do any of the following:

  1. Develop an Equally Effective Alternative Action Plan (EEAAP). Work with your vendor to develop an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) and submit for approval
  2. Submit an Alternative Option. Refer to the needs research, select and submit a more accessible technology solution.
  3. Submit an Exemption Request. Submit an ICT Accessibility Exemption Request form. 

Procurement Procedures

Information and Communication Technology purchases must follow the established NSHE General Purchasing Guidelines. When making EIT purchases or renewals the Purchase Requestor or the Department Buyer, must include a compliant Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) or acceptable alternative with the P-Card, Request for Check paperwork or Requisition before the purchase can be paid/made. The only time the BCN Purchasing Department will obtain the VPAT is when conducting a formal bid. Only vendors with a compliant VPAT (or acceptable alternative) will be evaluated and awarded the bid. The Software Accessibility Review Committee is available to assist with evaluating the accessibility of products.

The vendor must ensure all ICT conforms to accessibility standards as defined above. This includes any student-, faculty-, or staff-facing portions of the proposed product. Vendors must submit a completed VPAT as part of the response/proposal. Vendors must declare if any portion of the proposed product under consideration does not fully conform to the accessibility standards, the ways in which the proposed product is out of compliance and a remediation plan or acceptable alternative.

VPATs will be kept on file at the University for the duration of the product's or service's life cycle. If, at any time, the product or service no longer conforms to the guidelines and laws defined above, the vendor will notify the original Purchase Requestor or the Department Buyer in writing within fourteen calendar days explaining the justification of the change which rendered the product or service noncompliant and the proposed remediation plan or acceptable alternative. If vendor is unable or unwilling to bring the product or service back into compliance with the guidelines and laws defined above without making technically unfeasible modifications, the vendor may supply the University with an accessible alternate EIT that provides an equal experience for the user at no additional expense to the University. Failure to notify the University of such a variance or failure to provide an acceptable alternative in a timely manner, not to exceed thirty calendar days, shall be considered a breach of contract.

Accessibility Procurement Definitions

Information and Communication Technology (ICT). ICT includes applies to all technology and any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information employed in support of the University's Mission and Core Themes. ICT includes, but is not limited to, the internet and intranet websites, content delivered in digital form, electronic books and electronic book reading systems, search engines and databases, learning management systems, classroom technology, instructional materials, student response systems ("clickers"), and equipment such as classroom podiums, copiers and fax machines. ICT also includes, but is not limited to, telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), transaction machines (such as payment terminals), computers, ancillary equipment, software, services (including support services), equipment maintained and services operated by third-party vendors, and related resources. 

Purchase Requestor. The person making the request for purchase of ICT.

Department Buyer. The department at the University that will be making the purchase with the vendor.

Vendor. The entity the University wants to purchase the ICT from.

Accessibility Review Committee. A standing committee that offers advice on the accessibility of products and services to purchasers.

Acceptable Alternative. May include plans and a timeframe for achieving conformance or an alternate workaround.

NOTE: Portions of this procedure have been adapted from the California State University Accesible Technology Initiative.