Our constant challenge with acquisitions and 508 compliance is that Section 508 is not part of requirements. The largest impediment to the implementation of Section 508 in the current requisition process is the absence of Section 508 clauses in base contracts. The most critical action required is to make sure the correct applicable Section 508 clauses are in the Contract/Requests for Proposals and Statements of work. This is the only way to hold the vendor to compliance. If the critical language is not in the contract, vendors charge a considerable amount of extra money to bring the product to compliance. By ensuring Section 508 clauses are in the contract the Agency can save money. According to a case study by Pressman (2005), it is expensive to retrofit software to meet accessibility standards. The cost of revision is estimated to be one to six times greater during development than during the design phase and sixty to hundred times greater after release.
So Section 508 should be part of the requirements and should not be an after thought.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) should be used by federal agencies as guidance for developing procurement policies and procedures.
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