Accessible IT Procurement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What purchases are considered E&IT?
- Why is an E&IT Procurement Request necessary?
- What are the steps to complete an E&IT request?
- I submitted an E&IT request, but I haven’t received an approval email. Where can I find the status of my request and what will the final approval email look like?
- The product I want to purchase is not fully compliant with the Section 508 criteria. Can Istill purchase it?
- I already submitted an E&IT for this product and now it needs to be renewed. Why do I have to fill out another E&IT request for the same product?
- What is a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and when do I need to obtain one?
- What if the vendor won't supply a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
- A VPAT is not appropriate for this purchase (e.g. contracting a web page to be developed, providing consulting services, server hosting, etc.). What documentation should the vendor provide instead?
- Where can I get a sample of a completed VPAT? An Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan?
- The vendor has never heard of accessibility requirements. Where can I direct them for further information?
- How can I get further information/training on ATI and the E&IT Procurement Process?
Q1. What purchases are considered E&IT?
- Desktop and Portable Computers
- Self-contained Products (i.e. printers, copy machines, kiosks, scanners, projectors, any items with digital display)
- Telecommunications Products
- Video and Multimedia Materials (needs to be captioned or subtitled if commercially available)
- Web Consulting/Content/Software
Purchases NOT considered E&IT - No E&IT Approval needed:
- Computer mice
- Flash Drives
- Hard Drives
- Keyboards (when purchased alone)
- Office/Classroom installation equipment (e.g. wall mounts, mounting brackets, cables)
Q2. Why is an E&IT Procurement Request necessary?
An E&IT request must be submitted and approved for all requisitions and credit card orders that contain technology items. California Government Code 11135 requires the CSU system to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 requires that the electronic and information technology (E&IT) products developed, procured, maintained or used by the university are accessible to people with disabilities. CSUS has an obligation to buy the most universally accessible products, and the E&IT review process helps ensure that we are adhering to this law.
The second purpose of the E&IT request process is to review the product’s compliance with the Information Security Office’s (ISO) requirements. For details on the information security portion of the E&IT review, visit the Information Security Office page.
Q3. What are the steps to complete an E&IT request?
A. Determine your needs/requirements for the products/services to be purchased.
B. Research which products/services are available for that need. Check to see if a product is on the Pre-Approved list.
C. Request the related accessibility documentation from vendor (e.g. Vendor Product Accessibility Template) if possible.
- Submit for E&IT Review
A. Complete the web-based E&IT Procurement Review Form: www.csus.edu/techprocure. See Technology Procurement Request Instructions.
B. Complete gathering of documentation on accessibility if required (i.e. VPAT for products, 508 Acknowledgement Statement for services, caption information for videos, etc.) from vendor and email documentation to the IT/ATI Procurement Specialist.
C. Depending on the product/service being requested and its level of impact, approval may be required from one or more of the following reviewers: the IT/ATI Procurement Specialist, the Information Security Office, and/or the reviewing IT Administrator.
D. If a full E&IT accessibility/security review is needed, work with the vendor and the IT/ATI Procurement Specialist and/or Information Security Office to obtain the information requested. Full review could take one to eight weeks.
E. After the E&IT review has been completed, the requestor will receive a final approval email (see question 4 for further information about the approval email).
- Complete purchase through one of the following options:
Option 1: Enter requisition into CFS:
A. Use commodity code 91900
B. Upload PDF/document of approval email and other requested supporting documentation as an attachment to the CFS requisition, in the header comments.
C. Use the standard comment for ATI documents when attaching documents.
Option 2: Order with a Procurement Card following the appropriate steps below:
A. Dot.com order - pre-approval from the Procurement Office is required; send your E&IT approval to the appropriate buyer in Procurement BEFORE purchasing.
B. Software Orders - pre-approval from the Procurement Office is NOT required; submit your E&IT approval along with your credit card statement
Q4. I submitted an E&IT request, but I haven’t received an approval email. Where can I find the status of my request and what will the final approval email look like?
After you submitted your request, you should have received an email with “Procurement Request Started” in the subject line. If you click on the link in the body of this email, you will be directed to the SharePoint site with a list of your requests. Click on the appropriate product from the list. Click “View Properties” at the top of the screen. You will be able to see whether the request is pending an ATI, ISO, or IT review.
You will know that your request has final approval when you receive an email with "Procurement Approved for Product. Ref # 1234" in the subject line. This is the email that must be attached to your requisition or to your credit card statement, or sent to Procurement before completing your purchase, if requested. All other emails with subjects about "Approval Task has completed" are simply status updates.
Q5. The product I want to purchase is not fully compliant with the Section 508 criteria. Can I still purchase it?
It depends. While no products can claim 100% compliance with the Section 508 standards, some products are clearly more compliant than others so the degree of compliance must be evaluated. The federal government has stated that agencies must "procure the product that best meets the standards". If a more accessible product IS available, but a less accessible product is being requested for purchase, a completed Exception Form with a justification for this request must be submitted to the IT/ATI Procurement Specialist for review and approval.
Q6. I already submitted an E&IT for this software and now it needs to be renewed. Why do I have to fill out another E&IT request for the same product?
When a software maintenance is renewed, there is often a corresponding new version of the software. While it is unlikely that a newer version will be LESS accessible than a previous version, there may be changes in the degree of compliance nonetheless. Regardless of whether changes to the product enhance or reduce accessibility, they should be documented in the interest of retaining/discarding alternative access plans (EEAAPs), comparing compliance to that of similar products, and following up with vendors who previously made a commitment to improve/increase accessibility features before the next renewal date.
Q7. What is a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and when do I need to obtain one?
A VPAT is a form to be completed by the vendor that documents their product’s conformance with the Section 508 Accessibility Standards. A completed VPAT should state which criteria the product supports, and explain what features it utilizes to support accessibility. This document must be requested from the vendor if the product will be used by any number of students, the general public, or large audiences (approximately 100 or more users). Both the blank VPAT form and a sample completed VPAT can be found at www.csus.edu/techprocure.
Q8. What if the vendor won't supply a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)?
Ask the vendor to complete the "No VPAT" form. Since the vendor is providing no formal documentation of specific compliance issues, planning a feasible alternative access plan is next to impossible. The requesting department/individual should review the campus accommodation policy, and immediately contact email@example.com if there are any reports of accessibility issues with the product.
Q9. A VPAT is not appropriate for this purchase (e.g. contracting a web page to be developed, providing consulting services, server hosting, etc.). What documentation should the vendor provide instead?
The vendor should sign the Section 508 Acknowledgement Form confirming that the 508 standards are understood and the product/service being provided will comply with all applicable criteria.
Q10. Where can I get a sample of a completed VPAT? An Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan (EEAAP)?
Samples of a completed VPAT and EEAAP along with other ATI Procurement resources can be found at www.csus/edu/irt/techprocure.
Q11. The vendor has never heard of accessibility requirements. Where can I direct them for further information?
The CSU Chancellor’s Office website has information specifically for vendors regarding the CSU’s E&IT requirement and how to provide documentation about their product’s conformance with applicable accessibility standards. Please ask vendors to visit the Chancellor’s Office Procurement page for further information. The CSU Guide to Voluntary Product Accessibility Template and the templates themselves are available in the Resource section of this site.
Q12. How can I get further information/training on ATI and the E&IT Procurement Process?
Contact the IT/ATI Procurement Specialist to schedule a training for yourself and/or your department on the E&IT Procurement Process.
For a more general overview of procurement processes, guidelines, policy, and the services that Procurement provides, please email Dale Clack at firstname.lastname@example.org.