Learn how to :
- define and ask for Selection Criteria for accessibility,
- evaluate supplier statements on accessibility capacity and ability, and
- ask for references from previous work to check for accessibility.
About Selection Criteria: Under the EU Procurement Directives you are not permitted to reuse Selection Criteria as Award Criteria.
Selection Criteria apply to the supplier and are used to assess their ability to perform the proposed contract. The Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit refers to this as the" Supplier’s Accessibility Capability". In contrast, Award Criteria relate to the subject matter of the tender – the ‘thing’ being bought – and are used to identify the tender that is the most economically advantageous.
Selection Criteria are used to judge which suppliers are qualified to submit tenders (for restricted procedures) or have their tenders evaluated (for open procedures). The Call for Tenders must provide information on those criteria that may lead to the exclusion of certain operators and also any necessary formalities for the assessment of the minimum economic and technical standards required of the supplier.
Therefore, as the procuring body, you are not permitted to reuse any criteria already used to assess the supplier's suitability to perform the contract as criteria on which the contract is awarded. See more in the Note on Exclusion Criteria.
1. Define and ask for a "Supplier’s Accessibility Capacity"
There is no widely accepted European or global specification for establishing the capability of a supplier to develop accessible ICT products or services. The Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit suggests that you require the supplier to provide a statement of their capacity to supply or develop accessible ICT.
The following example text and template could be used as Selection Criteria in your Call for Tenders. Note: Levels 1-5 are defined in the downloadable template "Supplier Statement of Accessibility Capacity".
Sample text 1:
A self-assessment “Supplier Statement of Accessibility Capacity” is applicable to the supplier. For levels 3, 4 and 5, the supplier shall provide evidence in the form of a declaration.
Download Template: Supplier Statement of Accessibility Capacity
For procurements below the threshold, the national public procurement legislation may allow reference to certain specifications. In those cases, you may be allowed to require candidates and suppliers to submit a Declaration of Conformity to such a specification.
To be applied only for procurements below the threshold and where allowed by the national legislation.
The supplier shall conform to <specification X>. The supplier shall verify conformance by submitting a suppliers' declaration of conformity, according to ISO/IEC 17050-1:2004.
2. Evaluating a "Supplier’s Accessibility Capability" statement
- For procurements of systems intended for the public, a supplier with an accessibility approach of level 4 should be a minimum requirement.
- For procurements of systems where a significant number of end-users can be expected to be dependent on a high accessibility standard of the system, a supplier with an accessibility approach of level 3 should be a minimum requirement.
- Outsourcing of an ICT-based activity to a third party supplier normally means that the responsibility for the accessibility of the system and the services provided by the system stays with the procuring body, but the methods of how to provide accessibility is to be decided by the supplier. This requires that the supplier has an approach to accessibility corresponding to at least level 4.
- For alternatives 3, 4 and 5, the supplier should be required to provide evidence for his assessment by submitting a declaration showing, where applicable, the approach taken, the organisation, partners and external experts.
3. Ask for records of contracts carried out and references
A useful way of checking a company's accessibility competence is the record of contracts carried out. When asking for past experience, the requested type of information and means of proof must be clearly set out.
Reference taking is another method, often used in the selection process. The number of references and capabilities to request depends on the individual procurement. For accessibility as well as for other criteria, the purpose of the reference taking in the selection phase must be limited to verify that the supplier has the general suitability for performing the contract.
Examples of how to ask for references
In these examples "supplier" may be replaced by "candidate" where applicable.
Sample text 3:
The supplier shall verify their capability to deliver accessible products and services within the scope of this procurement by accounting for 3 reference contracts, where accessibility has been an award criterion. The contracts shall be performed for external customers by the supplier or a subcontractor or retailer participating in this tender.
Sample text 4:
The supplier shall have methods and professional capability to ensure the quality of delivered products and services with respect to accessibility. Evidence shall be provided, for example by submitting a declaration describing, where applicable,
- the organizational structure with respect to accessibility,
- internal processes relevant for accessibility,
- a corporate policy on accessibility,
- educational qualifications of the relevant staff,
- previous performed contracts including accessibility issues.
Sample text 5:
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.