A vendor, or a supplier, provides goods or services to a company. A vendor will often manufacture items and sell those items to a customer.
Vendors who wish to do business with the CSU must provide information about their product's conformance to applicable accessibility standards via the Section 508 Evaluation Template also known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) (pdf).
What is a VPAT?
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 accessibility standards. 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. For the CSU system, VPATs are required for all E&IT procurements.
The CSU procurement and contract process for E&IT acquisition was amended to include the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards at 36 CFR Part 1194. Completion and submission of the VPAT is a requirement for CSU contracts for products and services where electronic and information technology is involved.
Proposals or bids without a completed SJSU VPAT may be disqualified from the competition.
What responsibility do vendors have in doing business with SJSU?
The SJSU VPAT must be completed and signed by a company representative with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service. Whenever possible, the VPAT should be completed by the manufacturer(s).
California Government Code Section 11135(d)(3) states:
"Any entity that contracts with a state or local entity subject to this section for the provision of electronic or information technology or for the provision of related services shall agree to respond to, and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services that is brought to the attention of the entity."
This means that 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.
Where can a vendor find more information about VPAT and Section 508 requirements?
For more vendor specific information, please refer to the following documents and resources at CSU Accessible E&IT Procurement:
- Information to Vendors: CSU Accessibility Requirement (doc)
- How do I make a 508 Determination?
- CSU Product Accessibility Documentation Guidelines (doc)
How does a vendor complete an SJSU VPAT and to where do they send it?
Completing the VPAT
- With all E&IT purchases, the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) must be 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.
Submitting the VPAT
- Vendors will return their completed VPAT directly to the Section 508 Compliance Specialist for product review and evaluation.
- Failure to properly complete and return the VPAT will result in the designation of No VPAT Provided. Such decision is at the sole discretion of SJSU Purchasing and cannot be appealed.
Processing the VPAT
- The Section 508 Compliance Specialist will review and evaluate your product and then forward their evaluation to SJSU Purchasing.
- Purchasing will make the final determination as to the purchase of E&IT products and services.
How will the VPAT be evaluated?
Upon evaluation completion, the Section 508 Compliance Specialist will forward the executed checklist and evaluation findings to SJSU Purchasing.
Will the products or services be tested?
SJSU reserves the right to perform testing of a vendor's product or service in order to validate vendor claims regarding Section 508 conformance.
In order to facilitate this testing, the vendor shall, upon request, provide to SJSU 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 SJSU.