Evaluating Tenders contains guidelines to validate the supplier's capacity in ICT accessibility. You will find guidance on declarations and other types of statements on conformity to request from the suppliers.
Evaluating Supplier's Level of Accessibility Capability
In your Call for Tenders you may have asked suppliers to provide evidence of their skills and capacity that can be used to judge their suitability during a selection process. In the selection phase, the evaluation can only have two outcomes: either the supplier meets the selection criterion, or not.
Where you have requested a declaration as evidence, you should assume that the content of the declaration is correct. The evaluation should in this case be limited to checking that the evidence provided is valid and relevant for the subject-matter of the procurement. For example, do submitted declarations and certificates refer to the tenderer? Are they up-to-date?
Reference taking can be time-consuming and requires preparatory work. Contracting authorities may have different policies, procedures and methods for reference taking. For references about accessibility, the same policies, procedures and methods as for other aspects can be applied.
Evaluating the Technical Specification
In general, checking that mandatory accessibility requirements are met is dependent on which evidence you have requested in the Call for Tenders. You will find guidance on declarations and other types of statements on conformity to request from the suppliers, and their credibility, in Conformity assessment and attestations.
In principle, you should select the type of statement (declaration or attestation) which corresponds to the credibility you want. Then you should not need to re-verify the submitted declaration or attestation, only check its validity and relevance for the contract.
In some situations you should take particular care to verify fulfilment of accessibility requirements. Examples of such situations are:
- where non-compliance to accessibility requirements could make end-users unable to exert their societal obligations or rights, for example tax declaration or e-voting;
- public workstations, e.g. in a library, where some people may encounter difficulties if the workstation does not have the good accessibility the supplier claims that it has;
- self-service systems, such as ticket machines in a railway station, where the system cannot be adapted by the user.
For such situations, you may choose to not rely on a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity. Instead, you may choose to evaluate the accessibility in-house, by determining if the product or service meets the technical specification.
There are two basic accessibility evaluation methods: expert auditing and user testing. Two things to note about auditing and user testing:
- For auditing, you cannot rely on automated accessibility checking tools. Human accessibility experts are needed.
- Formal user testing is a highly skilled activity that involves careful preparation and management if it is to produce results that are reliable and useful.
Read more on expert auditing and user testing.