While Section 508 requirements apply to all ICT acquisitions, indefinite delivery base contracts involve different responsibilities for compliance. These contracts do not directly procure deliverables, but rather provide for the issuance of orders for the delivery of supplies or performance of tasks during the period of the contract.
The ultimate responsibility for complying with Section 508 standards lies with requiring and contracting officials issuing task or delivery orders against these contracts. However, there are explicit FAR requirements for the IDIQ Base Contract itself, and important good practices for Section 508 due diligence.
Section 508 Due Diligence for Base Delivery and Task Order Contracts
Require Section 508 Information for ICT Supplies and Services on the Contract
According to FAR 39.203 (b)(2), "contracting offices that award indefinite-quantity contracts must indicate to requiring and ordering activities which supplies and services the contractor indicates as compliant, and show where full details of compliance can be found (e.g., vendor’s or other exact website location)." Consequently, there are three important considerations when developing the requirements for these solicitations.
- Determine How Section 508 Applies
- Identify specific deliverables and distinguish each ICT deliverable subject to Section 508.
- Don't forget Section 508 for ICT information, documentation, and support.
- Identify Specific Section 508 Requirements for Each ICT Deliverable
- Document the functions, features, and physical or performance characteristics that the ICT must meet.
- Based on those features and functions, consider technical and functional performance requirements from the Access Board Standard (CFR 1194).
- Request Vendor Accessibility Information be Available as Part of their Proposal
- Have vendors use the standard GPAT/VPAT format to document conformance to the standard.
- Make sure this information is readily available for subsequent orders.
Consider Section 508 when Evaluating Proposals
Document how Section 508 requirements will be included in proposal evaluation, and make vendor Section 508 accessibility information an evaluation factor for contract award.
Communicate Clearly with Subsequent Requiring and Ordering Activities
Make sure that those who issue delivery-orders or task-orders against the base contract are aware of their responsibilities under Section 508. Do not let them assume that Section 508 due diligence is complete because the base contract has been awarded. It is best practice to explicitly document as part of the base contract the applicable Section 508 requirements for ICT deliverables, and to include a reminder of the responsibility of requiring and ordering activities.
Common Mistakes in Section 508 Due Diligence
- Not requiring Section 508 accessibility information for ICT supplies or services on the contract.
- Not considering Section 508 requirements for ICT information, documentation, and support.
- Not communicating clearly with requiring and ordering activities about their Section 508 responsibility.