The Role of Procurement

Procurement officers and project managers play a key role in ensuring that all users can access services. Asking the right questions at the start of the process is the best way of ensuring that the final product is fit for purpose.

Accessibility rights

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treats ICT accessibility as an integral part of accessibility rights, on a par with access to buildings and transport.

The right to equal access

The right to equal access is a group right which exists before an individual attempt to access online content or services (ex ante). In the world of IT this is often referred to as ‘out-of-the box’ or ‘default’ functionality.

Whereas buildings without ramps exclude people in wheelchairs from the physical environment, ICT that doesn't comply with accessibility standards excludes from the online environment.

Procurement is a key part of ensuring equal access.

The right to reasonable accommodation

The right to reasonable accommodation involves adjusting online content or services to meet the needs of individuals. In IT this is often referred to as a 'workaround'.

For example, online learning materials might be provided in an accessible format, but a student's assistive technology software might not support that format. There is an obligation to consult with the student and provide the materials in a format that the student can access, unless it would be unreasonable to do so.

Business Requirements

Accessibility can either be categorized as a functional or non-functional requirement, although most often it is regarded as non-functional.

Non-functional requirements become more relevant as projects near delivery. It is great to have a new product or service, but can people use it?