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Purchasing and Procurement

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1. What do Mason Purchase Requestors need to know?

2. What do vendors need to know?

3. What is a Demo and Application Document?

4. What is a VPAT?

5. What responsibility do vendors have in doing business with Mason?

6. Where can a vendor find more information about VPAT and Section 508 requirements?

7. How does a vendor complete a VPAT and to where do they send it?

8. How will the VPAT be evaluated?

9. Will the products or services be tested?

10. Where can I find more information about working with vendors to complete VPATs?

1. What do Mason Requestors  need to know?

There is an *Architecture Standards Committee (ASC) that has an Architecture Standards Review Board (ASRB). This Board is put in place to ensure compliance of purchases of technology services, hardware, applications, etc. As part of this committee, ATI  reviews purchase requests for *Section 508 and *WCAG 2.0 accessibility and compliance standards. There are a minimum of 2 documents specific to these standards that need completed and/or reviewed as part of this process. The Mason requestor will be asked to forward a WCAG 2.0VPAT and Demo Document to the vendor for completion. The vendor may also send a Section508 VPAT if already completed.

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2. What do vendors need to know?

Vendors who wish to do business with Mason must provide information about their product’s conformance to applicable accessibility standards via the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). There are 2 types of VPATs that we request vendors to complete: The Section 508 VPAT and the WCAG 2.0 VPAT. We request at a minimum the WCAG 2.0 VPAT be completed. Vendor may also send the Section 508 VPAT as well. Please visit our VPAT Matrix (Word Doc) for help determining which standards may apply. Request for demo information to do a manual accessibility review is likely.

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3. What is a Demo and Application Document?

When a demo is required, the Demo and Application Information Document (PDF) asks a series of questions needed in order for ATI to properly complete manual testing of the application.

Demos are required when:

  • It is a large University wide application;
  • Used across more than one Office/Department;
  • Has a large student based population;
  • Has a public interface;
  • Combination of any/all of the above.

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4. What is a VPAT?

Mason requires a Section 508 VPAT (PDF) and/or a WCAG 2.0 VPAT (PDF) for all E&IT procurements. The VPAT is the product of a partnership between the Information Technology Industry Council and the U.S. General Services Administration to develop an industry-standard rubric for documenting the extent to which E&IT products conform to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards. It’s basically a checklist to determine the level of accessibility that products support or do not support. The term voluntary refers to the fact that only those vendors who wish to sell products to the federal or state government require a VPAT. Mason procurement and contract process for E&IT acquisition was amended to include the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards at 36 CFR Part 1194. Visit ATI Mason Policy for more information.

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5. What responsibility do vendors have in doing business with Mason?

The VPATs must be completed and signed by a company representative with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service. All vendors shall agree to respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of their E&IT products or services. All vendors must provide the contact information for a person who will address questions and issues regarding the accessibility of their product and services.

When an application/product is manually reviewed, an Accessibility Report will be shared with the vendor.  Depending upon the level of accessibility or lack of accessibility a timeline may be required showing when changes can be implemented.

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6. Where can a vendor find more information about VPATs, Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 requirements?

Please visit our VPAT Page or see *Section508 Standards or *Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

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7. How does a vendor complete a Mason VPAT and to where do they send it?

The Section 508 and/or WCAG 2.0 level AA VPATs must be fully completed and signed by a company representative and/or manufacturer(s) with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service. Vendors are required to complete VPAT market research requirements for E&IT products as defined by Section 508 regulations.  Vendors will return their completed VPAT directly to Mason’s IT Accessibility Coordinator for product review and evaluation. Failure to properly complete and return the VPAT will result in the designation of No VPAT Provided or will be returned to the Vendor to provide completion. The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review and evaluate your product and then forward their evaluation to the appropriate party.

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8. How will the VPAT be evaluated?

The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review the VPAT to evaluate technical compliance and serve as a technical resource to evaluate and approve product compliance.

Failure to properly complete and return the VPAT will result in the designation of No VPAT Provided or will be returned to the Vendor to provide completion. The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review and evaluate your product and then forward their evaluation to the appropriate party.

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9. Will the products or services be tested?

Mason reserves the right to perform testing of a vendor’s product or service in order to validate vendor claims regarding Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 conformance. In order to facilitate this testing, the vendor shall, upon request, provide to Mason a test version of the product being considered for purchase for a period of at least 30 calendar days. The testing version of the product must be equivalent in functionality and features to the commercial version that is under consideration for purchase by Mason.

Failure to provide an equivalent functioning demo will result in slowing the approval process and may result in a decline of approval.  (Please contact our office to determine alternatives.)

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10. Where can I find more information about working with vendors to complete VPATs? 

Please visit our VPATs Page for more information and resources.

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