Procurement and Purchasing

Procuring New Content and Products at UNLV

Incoming digital content, software, and technology products may need to be reviewed for accessibility prior to purchasing, adoption, or renewal in accordance with UNLV’s Accessibility Policy and its associated Standards and Procedures.  The Office of Accessibility Resources is here to partner with UNLV Faculty & Staff, the Purchasing and Contracts department, and vendor representatives with the common goal in providing the most accessible products and services to UNLV students, staff, and the larger community, in accordance with our legal obligations.

To facilitate this review, the vendor may be asked to provide the accessibility documentation, listed below, and at the request of the Office of Accessibility resources, may also be asked to provide a test account or demonstration of the product for accessibility review.  These reviews allow the accessibility team to test the software for compliance with the appropriate accessibility guidelines and standards, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level A & AA, provisions listed in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other standards where they apply to specific products, such as authoring tools, or e-book publications.

What Documentation is Required For Procurement?

Some vendors may have some accessibility documentation available, but they will need to customize it for UNLV. In addition to the industry-standard Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), the UNLV ICT Accessibility Policy specifies 2 additional documents which the vendor will need to provide, the Accessibility Statement and Accessibility Roadmap. Current versions of these documents can be provided by the Office of Accessibility resources on request.

The Accessibility Statement document asks vendors to provide a VPAT, if available, but also additional information about accessibility at their organization, including what kind of accessibility testing is done, and what kind of customer support is offered for individuals with disabilities who may need to use the product, if applicable.

The Office of Accessibility Resources will not approve a product for purchase without the information in the Accessibility Statement and Accessibility Roadmap in place, or if the information is out of date, based on outdated standards, or it does not accurately reflect the accessibility of the product provided.

Because this documentation can take time, and some vendors may have questions about accessibility terminology or UNLV accessibility policies, we recommend including the Accessibility Resources Team as early as possible in the procurement process. The team can begin consulting on accessibility requirements at the beginning of contract or purchasing negotiations, help to evaluate multiple products you are researching, or we can assist with including accessibility evaluation as a part of the Request for Purchase (RFP) process

What is a VPAT?

A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a templated accessibility conformance report that documents the results of accessibility testing on a product, either by internal review or third-party testing.  The VPAT document indicates which accessibility guidelines were supported or not supported by the product at the time of review. Many companies have this document available to prospective clients upon request, or have it published to a public website, and have an update schedule to revisit the document at intervals between 6 months or a year.

A VPAT should:

  • Be updated regularly to reflect the current status of the product
  • Be based on current Accessibility guidelines, either:
  • Indicate when the results were considered current
  • Indicate what portion of a vendor's product(s) or service(s) were reviewed
  • Indicate how the results were found (i.e. by internal testing or by a third party who reviewed the product)

For UNLV Staff, a VPAT is a great place to start the conversation about accessibility with a vendor, as it offers a “snapshot” of the product or service at the time of review, but more information is likely required to continue on to procurement, especially where purchasing contracts are involved, see What Documentation is Required For Procurement?

Contact the Office of Accessibility Resources

Please reach out to the Office of Accessibility resources for information regarding the UNLV ICT Accessibility Policy, to begin the process of Accessibility Review, or with concerns about procuring, purchasing, or adopting digital content.

Vendor Info

If you are an ICT Vendor, please indicate the name of the UNLV Faculty or Staff member you are partnering with, at a minimum, the intended users of the product (student use, public use, or staff-only), and the contact at the Purchasing and Contracts Department, if applicable.  If there is no existing process to procure for a particular course or department, we cannot review products for “pre-approval” at this time.

Office of Accessibility Resources
accessibilityresourceteam-request@unlv.edu

Other Procurement Process Examples

As accessibility becomes an essential part of education nationwide, and indeed globally, the UNLV Office of Accessibility Resources monitors and keeps in contact with our accessibility colleagues. Here are some examples of the accessibility procurement process at other universities.