Procurement of digital products and services is the other side of the ‘accessibility coin.’ OZeWAI has been busy in supporting a wide range of initiatives related to accessibility requirements in the procurement of ICT.
ICT Procurement empathy mapping workshops
The 2022 year started with a video for the Zero Project and then focused on running ICT Procurement empathy mapping workshops with invites being shared on the OZeWAI forum. These workshops were used to research how to provide guidance for procurement officers, project managers and others who buy products or services to better understand accessibility compliance. These workshops also highlighted how accessibility professionals can help organisations, vendors and government to understand compliance to the Australian Standard EN 301 549. The activities helped develop some good practice in running accessible remote workshops but was instrumental in sharing issues and understanding of the problems experienced by people with disability when products or services are not accessible for everyone.
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET)
OZeWAI was then involved in procurement activities, such as ADCET’s letter of support and the work to develop guidance for the higher education sector. The final work published on the CAUDIT website has some wonderful material to guide procurement practices for universities and educational institutions but can be used by anyone who wishes to buy accessible products and services.
Australian Network on Disability ‘Accessible Procurement Taskforce’
The Australian Network on Disabilities (AND) has established a taskforce aimed at making it easier for organisations to purchase accessible and inclusive goods and services that are usable by as many people as possible including people with disability. OZeWAI is a member of the Taskforce. The aim of the Taskforce is to find solutions that;
- Evaluate against a minimum acceptable user experience for people with a disability,
- Do not require an accessibility SME to be heavily involved,
- Do not materially slow down the purchasing process,
- Are intuitive for organisations and suppliers,
- Enables the identification and selection of accessible goods and services
OZeWAI sub-committee on procurement
OZeWAI has been working on the aspect of implementing Accessible Procurement for some time. It has now set up a formalised sub-committee to develop guidance and training for accessibility professionals who may be asked to assist in developing business cases for building or buying accessible products and services. The sub-committee is also an aspect of work that has been started by the AND. It will advise AND’s Accessible Procurement Taskforce of what organisations can and should expect from an accessibility professional who is engaged in the procurement process.
Topics in this scope include:
- Identification of essential and desirable forms of evidence of accessibility
- Ability to read, interpret and develop accessibility conformance reports based on the ITI’s VPAT. In particular consistent testing methodologies.
- Understanding of legislative requirements
The sub-committee members are: Andrew Arch, Andrew Downie, Andrew Normand, Bri Norton, David Swayn, Greg Alchin, Herin Hentry, Leona Zumbo, Matt Hawkins, Melanie O’Brien, Natalie Collins, Nika Khodjasteh, Ruby Fischer, Sean Murphy and Sharon Litchfield. Contact us if you are interested in being involved or want to find out more about the sub-committee and AND taskforce.
OZeWAI Accessible ICT Procurement resources and presentations:
- Bri Norton, Greg Alchin, Ben Leech and Andrew Arch, Zero Project presentation 2021
- Greg Alchin, Accessible procurement of ICT done easy presentation for OZeWAI 2020
- Neil King and Andrew Arch, Understanding accessible procurement and applying AS EN 301 549
- NSW Government’s updated guidance on ‘Buying accessible digital products and services everyone can use’