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Inclusion of accessibility requirements as part of procurement procedures

Section 27 of the Disability Act 2005 provides that "Where a service is provided to a public body, the head of the body shall ensure that the service is accessible to persons with disabilities". This applies to both the provision of services and the supply of goods. Essentially section 27 requires public bodies to ensure that unless it would not be practicable or justifiable on cost grounds or would result in an unreasonable delay, goods or services supplied to the body are accessible to people with disabilities. Section 27 applies when tendering for equipment, materials, information technology, conference facilities etc..

The objective of this office is, where it is practical and cost-effective to do so, to achieve as high standard of accessibility as possible for people with disabilities. It is the policy of this office to ensure that relevant accessibility requirements for people with disabilities are, where appropriate, included in all stages of the tender process. The following procedures have been adopted:

  • Staff preparing tenders should consult the Access Officer of this office to identify whether there are accessibility requirements which should be considered as part of the tender process. It may also be necessary to consult with external advisors, NDA and/or people with disabilities to identify any such requirements.
  • If it is decided that there are no accessibility requirements relevant to the goods or services being procured or that the accessibility requirements are deemed not to be practicable or will cause undue cost or delay, this decision must be recorded on the relevant file.
  • If there are accessibility requirements such requirements must be clearly stated in the request for tenders.
  • Accessibility criteria must be considered throughout the tendering process. Suppliers should be asked to identify features of their product or service which meets the relevant accessibility requirements. If asked to make presentations, suppliers should include accessibility as part of their presentation.
  • Accessibility requirements, where included, should also be given appropriate consideration and weighting during scoring and evaluation stages.