Accessibility can be, and should be, one of the Award Criteria for determining which tender offers the best value for money, i.e. is the most economically advantageous tender for the procuring body. The determination of these criteria depends on the object of the contract since they must allow the level of performance offered by each tender to be assessed in the light of the object of the contract, and the value for money of each tender to be measured.
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, giving better performance, lower price, or both.
Examples of areas which could be basis for accessibility Award Criteria are:
- Design of ICT that better addresses the needs of persons with cognitive and learning disabilities,
- "Total conversation", i.e. allowing people in two or more locations to: (a) see each other, (b) hear each other, and (c) conduct a text interaction (real-time text) with each other, or choose to communicate with any combination of those three modes and to do so in real-time. Total conversation is an ITU standard of simultaneous video, voice and text service in telecommunications.
- In a service contract, the Award Criteria may take into account requirements relating to meeting the specific needs of each category of user (e.g. personalisation of the service depending on the needs of various groups of persons with disabilities. This includes, for example, whether the service is accessible for partially-sighted persons or blind people, for the hard of hearing or deaf, for persons with intellectual disabilities, or those with mobility and dexterity impairments, etc.).
Procuring bodies should consult organizations 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:
- group all of them together within a separate 'Accessibility' criterion;
- include them as part of a more general 'Usability' or 'Ease of use' criterion; and
- spread them across criteria such as 'Quality and technical merit' or 'Expertise and skills of assigned personnel'.
Use the Accessibility Requirements Generator to quickly define the Functional Performance Statements or Functional Accessibility Requirements for use as Award Criteria.