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Accessible procurement — save money and lower the barriers to government services

How to include accessibility into the web procurement process is the latest guidance from the Web Standards team.

What accessible procurement looks like

Procurement covers all aspects of acquiring and delivering products, services and works. It starts with identifying the need and finishes with either:

  • the end of a service contract, or
  • the end of the useful life and disposal of an asset.

Accessibility is about removing unnecessary barriers that prevent disabled people from participating on an equal basis with others.

If you’re in the market to procure web-based products, services or development work for a government agency, remember to consider web accessibility.

Embedding accessibility into procurement early, is the most cost-effective method to ensure accessible outcomes.

Purchasing non-accessible products or services and then paying to make them accessible later is often far more difficult and expensive. If accessibility is not considered early in a project, accessibility barriers will remain.

Accessibility in web procurement — Web Accessibility Guidance project

How procurement influences accessibility

The New Zealand Government outsources a large amount of web development work. This means procurement becomes an essential way to influence the accessibility of government web content.

Websites that do not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are likely to have non-accessible web content.

It may be difficult or impossible for disabled people to access your information and services. For example:

  • videos without captions are inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • not properly supporting increased font sizes is an accessibility barrier for people with impaired vision.

Requiring organisations to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) when procuring, could motivate vendors and suppliers to improve the accessibility of their goods or services.

The NZ Government Web Accessibility Standard applies to many government agencies. This means their websites must meet minimum accessibility requirements — including outsourced websites and web content.

Web Accessibility Standard 1.1

Accessible procurement checklist

Learn about the 24 ways to include accessibility into your procurement process.

This checklist covers all stages of the procurement process — from the initial discussions through to contract management after implementation.

Accessible procurement checklist — Web Accessibility Guidance project

Our partners

This guidance was developed with the help of the:

  • New Zealand Government Procurement at Hīkina Whakatutuki Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
  • Digital Accessibility Team at Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora Ministry of Social Development
  • Digital Accessibility Working Group at Te Tari Taake Inland Revenue
  • Legal Services, Commercial at Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs.

Contact us and give feedback

Contact the Web Standards team with any feedback or questions about this guidance.

If you’ve used this guidance in your procurement process, we’d like to hear how it went.


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