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EIT Procurement

EIT  Accessibility & Procurement

EIT (Electronic and Information Technology) accessibility is currently defined by two standards – Section 508 and WCAG.  These two standards are intertwined although WCAG is focused largely upon web-based applications.  The software industry seems to be standardizing upon the 508 standards through the use of VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) which let a vender discuss their products accessibility according to each section and item of the 508 standards. VPATs are to be obtained from or filled out by the software vendorsalthough they are not always aware of this growing requirement.  As with many institutions of higher education, UM's software accessibility review process been developed around the VPAT.

Notes: Submit the Accessibility Roadmap (if needed) and questions to

Step 1: Identification

  • There will be a step in GrizMart, and the sole source and bid processes that requests a local rating. 
    • All UM software purchased should be accessible. 
    • Existing software will be highlighted and researched during the self-study.
    • Software evaluation can be initiated by submitting theEIT Accessibility Evaluation Request form.

Step 2: Basic Information

UM Requesters will be asked to provide a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and submit a Software Evaluation Request form.

(Further information for venders and requesters is available in this section.)

Step 3: Evaluation

  • If all VPAT “applicable categories” are marked “fully accessible.”
    • The software is referred to Step 4-Determination if:
      • the use-scope of the software is 1
      • software-generated-products scope is that same individual
    • Otherwise, EITA or ATS staff review the software. 
      • If the VPAT ratings are confirmed, software (with date and version #) will be listed as Recommended for UM Purchase according to current standards and testing process on the Accessibility website.
      • If ratings are not confirmed, the software is processed according to Step 3A above.
  • If all VPAT “applicable” categories are not marked fully supported: 
    • The software is referred to Step 4-Determination if:
      • the use-scope of the software is 1; and
      • software-generated-products scope is that same individual
    • Otherwise, further information is required.  Please submit a UM EIT EEAA Roadmap including:
      • Section 1: Competitors.  The names of competitive products, their VPATs, price and any reasons that the proposer would reject them as a viable alternative.
      • Section 2: Desired Vendor/Product Information.  The desired vendor, the requester and, if needed, EITA or ATS staff can help with this process.
      • Section 3: Remediation and Equally Effective alternative Access Plan (EEAAP).

Step 4: Determination

  • Compiled information and report is reviewed by the EITA software/procurement subgroup for recommendations. 
  • EITA recommendations are submitted to the CIO for final determination of “Provisional use” and/or review by UM President for “Exception.”
    • “Provisional Use” agreements are recommended for 1-3 year period if the vendor provides evidence of genuine accessibility efforts and periodically reviewed. 
    • “Exceptions” are infrequently, based on substantial research as indicated above and are requested from the President by the CIO.
  • If either a provisional use or exception is granted, the requestor will be required to describe an interim measure which will ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to obtain or communicate the same information in as timely a fashion, but for the inaccessible software.

Step 5: Ratings & Reports

The rating formula is described in Appendix A.  Ratings will be displayed on UM Accessibility site along with:

  • Name of the department and date of the provision use period – if appropriate
  • VPAT
  • Accessibility Roadmap document

Step 6: Review

  • Provisional use designations are temporary.  A “provisional use” designation does not automatically roll into “approved for purchase” category.  Their status should be reviewed by the individuals or departments who requested that designation.
  • Purchasing records are reviewed quarterly supervised by EITA staff to determine:
  • Whether cumulative totals of individual departmental purchases of  software (that does not fully meet accessibility requirements specified in this policy”) are larger than expected; and
  • Whether a department has purchased additional copies.

Relevant Montana code

MCA 18-5-604 

MCA 603