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The Importance of Incorporating Accessibility in Procurement

Recent European Commission mandates (376 & 420) have highlighted that having clear standards that define functional requirements for accessibility to be used in public procurement can facilitate a policy for the prevention of accessibility barriers. Furthermore, public purchases in the EU constitute an important market and amounts to €1.5 billion or 16% of the Union’s GDP.

The public sector in Ireland should also be aware that, under Section 28 of the Disability Act 2005 they have a legal responsibility to incorporate accessibility in the procurement process. It requires that all public bodies:

If you are a member of a public body and are involved in the procurement process, you must consider accessibility at all stages of the process. 

The private sector also has a responsibility to ensure they incorporate accessibility in the procurement process. For example, the Equal Status Act 2000 (2004) requires that service providers may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of goods and services. One way to avoid discrimination and make your goods and services accessible is to ensure accessibility is embedded into all procurement exercises. 

If you are unaware of the procurement policies in place within your organisation, you should contact your procurement officer. Alternatively, if you would like further assistance on accessibility requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.