GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

How to Define Accessibility Provisions, Clauses, and Acceptance Criteria

These instructions will help Section 508 Coordinators and acquisition professionals minimize Section 508 compliance risk for information and communication technology (ICT) when preparing solicitations, statements of work, or other procurement documents. ICT includes such things as software, hardware, electronic content, support documentation & services.

While not legally required under the Revised 508 Standards, this sample language can be useful to proactively mitigate Section 508 compliance risk.

  • Carefully assess the risk of implementing inaccessible ICT items, and only use provisions and clauses that are appropriate for the ICT items you’re purchasing.
  • Feel free to tailor these provisions and clauses to meet your needs.
  • Where an exception does not apply to some or all components of an ICT item, these provisions and clauses may apply.
  • Use of these provisions and clauses may increase the cost of the award. Separating out these costs in offeror proposals may be useful, particularly if your agency anticipates that conformance to particular provisions of the Revised 508 Standards may warrant an exception for undue burden.

Provisions and Clauses

Custom ICT Development Services

Use case:

When purchasing development services to create or update ICT.

Sample language:

When the offeror provides custom ICT development services pursuant to this contract, the offeror shall ensure the ICT fully conforms to the applicable Revised 508 Standards prior to delivery and before final acceptance.  

Installation, Configuration & Integration Services

Use case:

When purchasing installation, configuration, or integration services for ICT.

Sample language:

When the offeror provides installation, configuration or integration services for equipment and software pursuant to this contract, the offeror shall not install, configure or integrate the equipment and software in a way that reduces the level of conformance with the applicable Revised 508 Standards.

Maintenance Upgrades & Replacements

Use case:

When purchasing maintenance services for ICT that may include product and service upgrades and/or replacements during the life of the contract.

Sample language:

The offeror shall ensure maintenance upgrades, substitutions, and replacements to equipment and software pursuant to this contract do not reduce the original level of conformance with the applicable Revised 508 Standards at the time of contract award.

Service Personnel

Use case:

When purchasing consulting services and labor hours to provide development, authoring, testing, installation, configuration, maintenance, training, and other consulting services related to ICT.

Sample language:

The offeror shall ensure the personnel providing the labor hours possess the knowledge, skills, and ability necessary to address the applicable Revised 508 Standards defined in this contract, and shall provide supporting documentation upon request.

Hosting Services

Use case:

When purchasing hosting services to support electronic software and content (e.g., cloud hosting services such as Amazon or Azure).

Sample language:

When providing hosting services for electronic content provided by the agency, the offeror shall not implement the hosting services in a manner that reduces the existing level of conformance of the electronic content with applicable Revised 508 Standards.  Throughout the life of the contract, the agency reserves the right to perform testing on a vendor or contractor’s hosted solution to verify conformance with this requirement.  

Validation for ICT Items

Use case:

When purchasing ICT where 508 validation is not possible prior to award (e.g., the solution has not been developed, configured, or installed). May also apply when ICT will be changed after award (e.g., updates, maintenance, replacements), or hosted in a third party environment. Consider your ability to independently validate conformance claims when determining whether to require the offeror to perform the validation.

Sample language:

The contractor shall test and validate the ICT solution for conformance to the Revised 508 Standards, in accordance with the required testing methods.

Documentation

Use case:

Consider using this language only when you know the offeror has the ability to ensure the ICT solution conforms to the Revised 508 Standards. Use caution when considering use of this language for resellers or aggregators that are not likely to have direct control over the ICT item’s conformance activities.

Sample language:

The offeror shall maintain and retain full documentation of the measures taken to ensure compliance with the applicable requirements, including records of any testing or demonstrations conducted.

Acceptance Criteria

This section will help your agency begin to develop acceptance criteria for customized or custom-developed ICT items, product replacements, and product updates that include a changed user interface. These post award acceptance criteria are not legally required under the Revised 508 Standards.

  • Carefully assess the risk of implementing inaccessible ICT items, and only use acceptance criteria that are appropriate for the ICT items you’re purchasing.
  • Feel free to tailor these provisions and clauses to meet your needs.
  • Where an exception does not apply to some or all components of an ICT item, these acceptance criteria may apply.
  • Use of these acceptance criteria may increase the cost of the award. Separating out these costs in offeror proposals may be useful, particularly if your agency anticipates that conformance to particular provisions of the Revised 508 Standards may warrant an exception for undue burden.

Conformance Reporting

Use case:

Use for ICT items that are developed, updated, configured for the agency, and when product substitutions are offered.

Sample language:

  • Before acceptance, the contractor shall provide an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) for each ICT item that is developed, updated, configured for the agency, and when product substitutions are offered. The ACR should be based on the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template Version 2.0 provided by the Industry Technology Industry Council (ITIC).  An ACR must be submitted for each ICT Item, and must be completed according to the instructions provided by ITIC to be considered for award
  • Before acceptance, when the contractor is required to perform testing to validate conformance to the agency’s accessibility requirements, the vendor shall provide a Supplemental Accessibility Conformance Report (SAR) that contains the following information:
    • Accessibility test results based on the required test methods
    • Documentation of features provided to help achieve accessibility and usability for people with disabilities.
    • Documentation of core functions that cannot be accessed by persons with disabilities.
    • Documentation on how to configure and install the ICT item to support accessibility.
    • When an ICT item is an authoring tool that generates content (including documents, reports, videos, multimedia productions, web content, etc.)., provide information on how the ICT item enables the creation of accessible electronic content that conforms to the Revised 508 Standards, including the range of accessible user interface elements the tool can create.
    • Before final acceptance, the contractor shall provide a fully working demonstration of the completed ICT Item to demonstrate conformance to the agency’s accessibility requirements.  The demonstration shall expose where such conformance is and is not achieved.
  • Before acceptance, the agency reserves the right to perform independent testing to validate the ICT solution provided by the contractor conforms to the applicable Revised 508 Standards.

Non-Compliance

Use case:

Consider using this language only when you know the offeror has the ability to ensure the ICT solution conforms to the Revised 508 Standards. Think about whether this language would be appropriate for a reseller or aggregator that does not have direct control over the ICT item’s conformance activities.

Sample language:

  • Before final acceptance any ICT item, including updates and replacements, if the offeror claims its products or services satisfy the applicable Revised 508 Standards specified in the statement of work and contracting officer determines that any furnished ICT item is not in compliance with such requirements, the contracting officer will promptly inform the offeror in writing of the noncompliance.  The offeror shall, at no cost to the agency, repair or replace the non-compliant products or services within the period specified by the contracting officer.

Please contact section.508@gsa.gov with feedback or questions.

Page Reviewed/Updated: September 2017