On 8/7/98 the President signed into law the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. They significantly expanded and strengthened the technology access requirements in Section 508. On 4/18/01 the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was revised to implement Section 508 as required by law. The FAR now requires all Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. The regulation impacts acquisitions of EIT effective 6/25/01.
The Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program awards indefinite quantity contracts for use by all federal agencies, and under the revised FAR, must provide accessibility information to federal agencies. This information must indicate which supplies and services the contractors indicate as compliant with the accessibility standards and show where full details of compliance can be found, such as a contractor’s website. When issuing orders against Schedule contracts agencies must ensure the supplies and services meet applicable accessibility standards unless an exemption applies.
The definition of EIT and the accessibility standards were developed by the Access Board. These standards, requirement exceptions, the FAR rule and a wealth of other information regarding the Federal IT Accessibility Initiative can be found at www.section508.gov. The accessibility standards also can be found at 36 CFR Part 1194.
When purchasing EIT agencies must conduct market research to determine what level of Section 508 compliance exists in the commercial EIT marketplace.
SPATHE Systems will provide agencies with all information available regarding compliance with accessibility standards, partial compliance or what accessibility features are offered on products and services provided by SPATHE Systems. SPATHE Systems is in the process of identifying each product or service with Section 508 information available. This Section 508 information will be contained in this section of this website. SPATHE is reliant on many suppliers/manufacturers of products, including Section 508 information, and will refer inquiries to the appropriate supplier/manufacturer for the most current Section 508 information.
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template®, or VPAT®, is a tool used to document a product’s conformance with the accessibility standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The purpose of the VPAT is to assist Federal contracting officials and other buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial “Electronic and Information Technology” products and services with features that support accessibility.
SPATHE Systems Section 508 point of contact is Adam Herbst, 813-853-0982 , [email protected]