Procedures

Effective January 1, 2017

1.  Scope

California Government Code 11135 requires the CSU to comply with section 508 and to apply accessibility standards to Information and Communication Technology (ICT)) products and services that it buys, creates, uses, and maintains.  The general, technical, and functional requirements of the procurement specifications drive the procurement process.  Accessibility determination is conducted in the evaluation performed by the requesting department.  The assessment of conformance to the accessibility standards is accomplished via the vendor provided Vendor Check List or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).  ICT products and services must meet the applicable accessibility standards unless an exception applies or low impact can be ascertained.

The 23 CSU campuses are also bound by the Chancellor's Office Executive order 1111 (see: https://calstate.policystat.com/policy/6590867/latest/)

Note: Effective on January 18, 2018, Communication Technology (ICT) definitions have been updated as a result of Section 508 refresh enacted on January 18, 2017.  For more information on this refer to the United States Access Board page  https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/final-rule.

2.  Purpose

This procedure is intended to provide the campus with guidance in the procurement of accessible ICT goods and services based on their impact on the campus.

3.  Definitions

California Government Code 11135 – A state law that requires the CSU to implement Section 508 and to apply the federal accessibility standards to the electronic and information technology (E&IT) products and services that CSU buys, creates, uses, and maintains.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – Any product or service that stores, records, transmits, presents, or conveys information.

ICT Consultant –  An ITS staff member who is the Section 508 procurement specialist with the responsibility to support the ITCs and departments as it relates to Section 508 compliance and who also participates in the review of ICT procurement documents.  The ICT Consultant is also responsible for the ICT website.

Exemption Request (Form) – Was a campus form (ATI-4821) completed by the department, ITS or the requestor if the purchase meets one of the eight exemption categories, now defunct under new guidelines. 

ICT Procurement Request (Form) – Campus form now accessed through ServiceNow , required for all ICT purchases, by which all computing, media, and telecommunications-related purchases and services are reviewed and approval is indicated.  The ICT Procurement Request (was ATI-4801) was included with the requisition package and is submitted to Information Technology Services (ITS Help Desk, LPW Lobby).  The form was required in Procurement and Contracts prior to the award of an applicable contract or purchase order.  Under ServiceNow these requirements still stand.  ServiceNow can be accessed through the my.calstatela.edu portal.

Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan  (Form) – When systems, software, or processes do not meet requirements of Section 508, an alternative access plan must be developed to address the accessibility issue.  This form (ATI-4822) is used to describe the alternate access plan.  Plan approval is required before the procurement can commence.

ITC (Information Technology Consultant) –  A frontline consultant as listed in http://www.calstatela.edu/its/helpdesk/itcs who serves as the primary reviewer of ICT products procured within his/her college or administrative section who, for this purpose, may use the Accessibility Analysis tool found on page http://www.calstatela.edu/accessibility/ict-procurement-0  His/her signature is required on the ServiceNow ICT form.

Requestor – Person or department or auxiliary requesting the purchase of ICT goods and/or services.

Section 508 – Part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, amended in 1998, requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government is accessible to people with disabilities.

Vendor Evaluation Checklist – Document completed by the vendor or supplier to document how their product meets or does not meet the 508 standards.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) – Template developed by the federal government so that vendors could disclose the extent that their E&IT products and services conform to each of Section 508 technical standards.  A number of ICT companies routinely produce VPATs and post them to their company websites.  VPATs are specific to product make and models.

4.   Applicability

This procedure applies to all purchases of ICT goods and/or services that fall into one of the following nine categories:

  1. Telecommunications products
  2. Information kiosks
  3. Transaction machines
  4. World Wide Web sites
  5. Software and mobile applications
  6. Computer operating systems
  7. Computers
  8. Multimedia; and/or
  9. Electronic Office Equipment (such as copiers and multi-function devices)

Step 1.  Complete the online campus Procurement Requisition.  The requisition number (Req ID) must be included on all forms in the requisition package.

Step 2.  Complete the online Information and Computer Technology (ICT) Accessibility Analysis found in the forms page (https://www.calstatela.edu/accessibility/forms).   Use the tool to determine whether a product or service is ICT and the campus impact (This can be completed by your associated ITC).  The department is responsible for determining the impact to the campus.  Attaching the completed analysis to the ICT requisition package is not required.  However, retain a department copy for three years from the purchase order payment date for audit compliance and reporting.

If the product is not ICT, proceed with the procurement as normal.  If ICT procedures apply, proceed as follows.

Step 3.  Complete the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request, available online via the campus portal to ServiceNow (start at https://my.calstatela.edu/).

Step 4.  If there is an impact to the campus, provide a VPAT (or indicate its corresponding entry in the repository) or request an exemption.

  1. The accessibility ACR repository website.
  2. The E&IT Exemption Request form is available online at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/forms.  (Click on Procurement → Forms.).   However, the ServiceNow form does provide text areas to explain why an exemption is in order.

Step 5.  Attach the applicable forms from steps 3 and 4 if need be.  ServiceNow will forward the requisition package to ITS for review and approval then forward the package to Procurement and Contracts.

5.   Exemptions

Unless "low impact" can be claimed, ICT products and services must meet the applicable accessibility standards unless one of the following exceptions applies.  If a department/division determines that compliance with any provision of the accessibility standards is exempt, it should be documented on the ICT Request.  Each exemption will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the ICT Compliance Team.

  1. The ICT procurement for products to be acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract is exempt.  For example, the vendor buys software in order to develop a website for CSU.  The software used by the vendor to develop the website does not have to conform to the accessibility standards.  However, the website is required to conform to the standards since the website is the purpose of the contract.
  2. Back Office - This ICT procurement is for products located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring.  These products reside in either a telecommunication closet or data center.  These products do not interact with people except when maintenance is required.
  3. Commercially Unavailable – At the time of procurement a product that meets all the functional specifications does not have features to meet all the appropriate 508 standards.  In some cases, the vendor’s product may comply with some, but not all the standards.  If that vendor has the most compliant product, then the standards that the vendor cannot comply with are considered commercially non-available.
  4. Sole Brand – Only one product meets the functional specifications required.  The Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAP) and VPAT are still required.
  5. Service and maintenance agreements for technical support of hardware.
  6. Future incorporation of 508 standards – If a product does not meet 508 standards, the vendor may submit a statement explaining past complaints, workarounds, and plans (with implementation timeframes) to incorporate accessibility.
  7. Fundamental Alteration – The campus is not required to make changes in the fundamental characteristics of a product to comply with Section 508 accessibility standards.  This does not apply to cosmetic or aesthetic changes.  One example of fundamental alteration is pocket-size pagers.  Adding a larger display to a small pager may fundamentally alter the device by significantly changing its size to such an extent that it no longer meets the purpose for which it was intended.
  8. Undue Burden – The acquisition of the accessible products would cause significant difficulty or expense to the entire California State University system.  The President shall have the final authority to approve or disapprove the undue burden request.

6.   Procedures

Department/Auxiliary

  1. The department/auxiliary will establish the functional requirements for the product.
  2. The department/auxiliary will determine if the item or service falls within one of the nine categories listed in Section 4.
  3. If the purchase falls within one of the nine categories, the department/auxiliary must conduct market research and product evaluation for best price and Section 508 compliance with assistance, as needed, from the college/division Information Technology Consultant and/or ICT Consultant.
  4. The department/auxiliary must request that the vendor provide a completed Voluntary Product Evaluation Template (VPAT) for the appropriate Section 508 Criteria.  For example, if the item being purchased is a software application, the vendor is required to complete the information required on Form 508 for Software Applications and Operating Systems,

OR

The department/auxiliary may check the accessibility ACR repository website pre-approved VPATs on file with the University.

(Note that the VPATs are specific to make and model versions, so updated VPATs may have to be requested if the product is upgraded or changed.  The department shall attach a copy of the VPAT to the requisition package or forward an electronic copy to be posted on the repository.)

If a VPAT is not available or the product does not meet section 508 standards, the vendor must provide written statements to answer the following questions.

  • What has your company done to evaluate the accessibility of your product?
  • Do you know of any problems or received any complaints regarding the accessibility of your product?
  • If you know of accessibility products, what workarounds have you identified or would you recommend?
  • What is your company planning in the next year to incorporate accessibility into the product?

The department/auxiliary must attach the vendor response to the above questions to the E&IT Exemption Request form.

  1. The department/auxiliary shall prepare the standard requisition in PeopleSoft and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request (ATI-4801).  The requisition number (Req ID) should be affixed to all forms in the requisition package.
  2. Department/auxiliary with assistance, as needed, from the Information Technology Consultant and/or ICT Consultant shall evaluate products to determine the degree of compliance with Section 508 requirements and identify the one that best meets the functional requirements.
  3. If the ICT purchase falls under one of the Exemptions listed in Section 5, the department/grant shall complete the ICT Exemption Request available at http://www.calstatela.edu/its/forms.  (Click on Procurement > Forms.)
  4. Completed E&IT requisition packages consisting of the PeopleSoft Purchase Requisition, Accessibility Analysis, ICT Procurement Request, VPAT, ICT Exemption Request (if applicable), and any other supporting documents provided by the vendor is reviewed and approved by the department’s Information Technology Consultant (ITC).
  5. The department manager or dean approves the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request (ATI-4801).  Signing the form affirms that the online ICT Accessibility Analysis has been performed and the department/division has attached a copy to the ICT requisition package.
  6. The requisition package is submitted to Information Technology Services (ITS Help Desk, LPW Lobby) for review.

Information Technology Services (ITS)

  1. ICT Compliance Consultant will review each the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Requests.  ICT Compliance Consultant will review the VPAT and may conduct product tests to validate vendor claims, if necessary.  Departments will be notified if testing is required since this will delay the procurement process.
  2. Indicate approval by signing and dating the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request or, if denied, return the requisition package to the department with an explanation for the denial.

ICT Procurement Working Group

      a.  The ICT Procurement Working Group will review exemption requests and recommend approval or denial to the ATI Steering Committee.

Purchasing Office

Formal Bid for new ICT product

  1. Check for approved Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request.  If the forms are not attached to the requisition package, it will be returned back to the department/auxiliary.
  2. The procurement is bid per procedure.
  3. The complete bid package shall be sent to interested vendors.
  4. Evaluation of VPAT: Upon receipt of the bid proposals, Procurement shall forward a copy of VPAT along with a copy of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request for approval.  ITS shall review the submission and approve it or deny it.  The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request and VPAT shall be returned to Procurement.  If acceptable, Procurement shall proceed with the award.  If the VPAT is unacceptable, ITS shall provide reasons and suggestions as to how to correct it.  At Procurement’s discretion, the decision shall be made whether to proceed with the contract, return it to the requestor, repair it, etc.  If returned to the requestor, there are three options: cancel the buy; work with the supplier to acquire an acceptable VPAT; or request an exemption, if applicable.  Procurement shall retain a copy of the procurement history file until the matter is resolved or six months, whichever occurs first.
  5. Once the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request is approved, Procurement shall complete the procurement in accordance with Procurement procedures.  Note that copies of the Accessibility Analysis, VPAT, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Procurement Request forms shall be included in the procurement file.
  6. Evaluation of Bids:  Unless otherwise exempted, bids for goods subject to Section 508 accessibility standards must be evaluated for compliance.  The award must be made to the vendor that submitted the lowest-priced responsive bid that also meets or exceeds the acceptable level of Section 508 compliance as defined by the campus authority for Section 508 compliance.

In the event that more than one bid is determined to be the lowest-priced responsive bid, then award must be made to the vendor submitting the bid that best meets, in Procurement’s opinion, Section 508 accessibility standards.

In the event that none of the bids submitted meet Section 508 accessibility standards, the market research efforts to procure an accessible product must be documented and the award may be made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

7.0   Training

  1. The ITCs shall be trained every two years.
  2. The general campus shall be trained as the opportunity presents itself.  The training shall be conducted as part of the credit card training held every two years and at the orientation of new employees.

New Online ICT procurement training materials will be available soon.

8.0    Plan Review for Effectiveness

The policies and procedures of this document will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated as required.       

 

Last Revised August 6, 2020