Section 508 requirements apply to Brand Name Only Exact Match acquisitions. However, when an exact match Brand Name Only item is specified in an RFP the product functionality (including accessibility) is generally already fixed - documenting additional requirements as part of the RFP will not change the pre-existing product.
RFPs for ICT products specified by an exact match for a Brand Name Only must include a Brand Name Justification with the solicitation as required by FAR 6.302-1(c)(1)(ii). Often the Brand Name Justification is based on consistency with existing IT architecture, infrastructure, and other agency policy.
Section 508 Due Diligence for Brand Name Only Acquisitions
Remember Section 508 when Identifying Agency Need
The requiring authority should identify specific ICT deliverables and determine how Section 508 applies.
Consider Section 508 when Documenting ICT Brand Name Justifications
The requiring authority should identify appropriate Section 508 accessibility requirements and conduct market research to understand if the identified Brand Name Only Product meets them. If the product does not meet accessibility requirements, communicate that fact to management and agency executives. Help to explore the extent to which conformance would impose significant difficulty or expense (undue burden) on the agency.
Include Section 508 in Agency ICT Brand Name Policy Decisions
Many times a Brand Name Only decision has been made as part of agency policy regarding IT architecture or infrastructure long before a program acquisition need is identified. Section 508 accessibility requirements need to be known and considered by agencies at the time they are developing those policies that determine a Brand Name Only justification.
Don't Forget Section 508 for ICT Information, Documentation, and Support
Make sure to consider requirements from the Access Board Standard CFR 1194 Subpart D for ICT information and documentation, as well as vendor support.
Common Mistakes in Section 508 Due Diligence
- Not including Section508 in Agency Brand Name policy decisions.
- Not considering Section 508 requirements when documenting a Brand Name Justification.
- Not conducting accessibility market research for a Brand Name exact match ICT product.
- Not considering Section 508 requirements for ICT information, documentation, and support.
- Not documenting Section508 exception determinations.