A recent review of solicitations posted on FedBizOpps (FBO) offered several examples of good and not so good practices documenting solicitations for maintenance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products. Section 508 requirements for ICT maintenance are often simply absent, but when they are included there is a range in quality of the solicitation language used. Here are three examples of not so good, better, and best solicitation language for maintenance of ICT.
GSA FedBizOpps Sampling Letters
A recent review of solicitations posted on FedBizOpps (FBO) offered several examples of good practices found to be beneficial to vendors in reviewing and responding to solicitations.
GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, Information Resources Management Division, Section 508 Program Office assesses samples of Federal EIT solicitations to see if they contain the required Section 508 technical standards and sends feedback to the department/agency and the procurement officials. Here is an example of a solicitation that was revised based on the feedback an agency received from GSA's assessment team.
Are you looking for assistance in ensuring your solicitation is compliant with Section 508? We can help.
The biggest problem with buying accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Federal government isn't bad VPATs (or other 508 conformance documentation); it is the fact that we don't even ask most of the time! As part of GSA's sampling of FedBizOpps solicitations, we check to see if agencies request a VPAT from vendors when they are trying to procure ICT. In our sampling, we found that only 6% of the time do agencies ask for a VPAT. The fix?
Besides identifying the applicable Section 508 provisions, there are additional ways to get a congratulations letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOpps solicitation considers Section 508. You should include Section 508 in your acceptance criteria and evaluation factors. Evaluations should be based in part on the proposal responsiveness to the identified Section 508 requirements and considerations for accessibility.
Want to know how to get a congratulations letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOpps solicitation considers Section 508? At a minimum, determine the applicable Section 508 provisions and include them in your solicitation. This includes identifying the specific technical provisions from 1194 Subpart B Technical Provisions. Subpart C Functional Performance Criteria always apply. Subpart D Information, Documentation, and Support almost always apply when you are buying EIT.
Here are some practices that GSA will point out as places to improve should you receive a letter from the GSA about the extent to which your FedBizOps solicitation considers Section 508.