4. Procuring products and services

This chapter has advice and suggested criteria for some products and services, but includes many general principles that can be considered for services and goods which have not been specifically named. The UK government produced guidance called "Procurement and the Disability Equality Duty - Implications of the Disability Equality Duty for Public Procurement and the Management of Public Sector Contracts" that has some useful examples and case studies that may also be relevant.

The references to guidelines here are suggestions; you can choose other guidelines if appropriate. For example, when we recommend mentioning simple, clear language in your criteria, you could also refer to the "Plain English Guidelines at a Glance" from the National Adult Literacy Agency, "Make it clear" from Mencap, or any other guidelines that you decide are appropriate.

Transport services

When your organisation receives transport-related goods or services, try to make sure that the vehicles that are used are accessible to people with disabilities. For taxi services, make sure that the service provider has capacity to efficiently meet any requirements for accessible vehicles on request. Waiting areas and drop-off points should also be accessible, and staff should monitor those areas to keep them accessible. Every aspect of a person's journey should be accessible; for example, it is important that passengers can get on and off wheelchair-accessible buses at bus stops that are wheelchair-accessible. Any tickets, and any machines that dispense tickets, should be accessible to people with disabilities. Staff who interact with your customers or your colleagues should have taken disability equality training. Any information that is delivered in the vehicle, such as the name of the next stop or station, should be in simple, clear language and delivered visually and orally.

Select as many of these suggested criteria as necessary to make sure that the whole service that you procure is accessible.

Here are suggestions for your request for tender. Select and adapt these as necessary.

Staff who will deal with customers

Award criterion:
  • "Provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."

Information for customers

Selection criteria:
  • "Provide evidence as to how you have provided information for customers in simple, clear language."
  • "Provide evidence as to how printed information that you have provided for customers has followed clear print guidelines."
  • "Provide evidence as to how web-based information that you have provided for customers has conformed to the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines."
Award criteria
  • "Provide evidence as to how the information that you provide for customers will use simple, clear language."
  • "Provide evidence as to how the printed information that you propose to provide for customers will follow clear print guidelines."
  • "Provide evidence as to how the web-based information that you propose to provide for customers will conform to the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines."
  • "Provide information on the range of accessible formats through which information will be available to customers and how you will respond to requests."

Vehicles

Taxis, hackney, and limousines

Selection criteria:
  • "Provide evidence as to how the [taxi, hackney, or limousine] will conform to the National Vehicle Standards from the Taxi Regulation Directorate of the National Transport Authority."
  • "Provide evidence as to the number of accessible vehicles available."
Award criterion:
  • "provide evidence as to how you will be able to provide an accessible [taxi, hackney, or limousine] on request.
  • "provide evidence that all drivers have undergone relevant training."

Air travel

For air travel for a small number of staff, you might prefer to consult those staff about their accessibility needs.

For large numbers of staff or for long contracts, you might be procuring the services of a travel agency. In those cases, you might prefer to include relevant European Union regulations in your procurement documentation.

Selection criterion:

Ships, boats, and ferries

Selection criterion:

Waiting areas and drop-off points

Remember that waiting areas and drop-off points might be outside the control of the organisation which provides the service to you.

Selection criteria:

Tickets

Printed tickets:

Selection criterion:
  • "Provide evidence as to how the tickets will conform to clear print guidelines."

Smart card tickets

Selection criterion:
Award criterion:

Ticket machines

Selection criterion:
  • "Provide evidence as to how ticket machines that you have [designed/developed/delivered] are accessible to all users."
Award criterion:
  • "Show how the ticket machines that you propose to [design/develop/deliver] will be accessible."

Useful references

Janitorial and cleaning services

Janitorial and cleaning staff can sometimes change the layout, usability, and familiarity of a building. This can affect people with sensory disabilities, physical disabilities, or cognitive disabilities.

Award criteria:
  • "provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."
  • "please provide details of the procedures in place to make sure that staff:
  • Do cleaning and maintenance work during off-peak periods or while the building is closed when possible
  • Cordon off wet floors and similar hazards, and/or indicate them with warning signs
  • Make sure that their equipment and cables will not be an obstruction or hazard
  • Only use floor polish that will not reduce the floor's slip resistance
  • Make sure that their polishing of surfaces will neither present glare nor reduce contrast
  • Clean windows, lamps and lighting diffusers regularly
  • Only use cleaning agents and applications that are non-toxic, and air fresheners that will not aggravate respiratory difficulties."

These criteria could also be useful in a service level agreement or in a list of requirements for the service.

Useful references

Security services

Security staff from a private company, who will come into contact with a public body's staff or customers, should receive disability equality training.

Award criterion:
  • "provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."

Useful references

Training

when training courses are provided to your organisation, try to make sure that the registration forms and training materials that attendees will get are accessible. the trainer should be able to adapt their method of instruction and course materials to cater for attendees who:

  • Are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Are blind or vision-impaired
  • May have cognitive impairments
  • Have impaired mobility.

Attendees should be able to use their assistive technology during the course if necessary. Appropriate supports, such as sign language interpreters and real time transcription services, should be available for those who require them. There should be an accessible way for attendees to give their feedback after the training. Trainers and other staff (such as receptionists) should have completed disability equality training.

The venue for the training course should be accessible to people with disabilities, and people with disabilities should be able to travel to the venue easily, using accessible transport and accessible parking spaces. All attendees must be able to get out of the venue easily in an emergency. Practical considerations for accessibility, such as sufficient lighting to enable lip reading, proper layout of the room and position of the trainer to facilitate sign language and lip reading, and provision of loop systems to facilitate those with hearing impairments, should be made where necessary. The trainer should identify and respond to the accessibility requirements of the attendees with regard to room layout.

Venues

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how the venue conforms to 'part m - access and use (2010)' from the department of the environment, community and local government."
  • "provide evidence as to how the venue conforms to a best practice document such as 'Building for Everyone: a Universal Design Approach' (from the National Disability Authority) or 'BS 8300:2009+a1:2010 Design of Buildings and their Approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of Practice' (from the British Standards Institution)."

Trainers and other staff (such as receptionists)

Award criteria:
  • "provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."
  • "provide evidence as to how you can adapt your method of instruction and your course materials to cater for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing, attendees who are blind or vision-impaired, and attendees with impaired mobility."
  • "provide evidence as to how the trainers will ensure that presentations are accessible, including reference to layout of the room and consideration of assistive technology. provide evidence of how they will follow guidance such as 'How to make Presentations Accessible to all [draft for review - updated 24 may 2010]' from the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)."

Registration forms, training materials, and ways of collecting feedback

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how you have previously provided registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that use simple, clear language."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have previously provided printed registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that follow clear print guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have previously provided web-based registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that conform to the latest version of the web content accessibility guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have previously provided video-based training materials that are accessible to everybody, regardless of age, size, ability or disability."
Award criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how any registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that you provide will use simple, clear language."
  • "provide evidence as to how any printed registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that you provide will follow clear print guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how any web-based registration forms, training materials, and/or feedback forms that you provide will conform to the latest version of the web content accessibility guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how any video-based training materials that you provide will be accessible to everybody, regardless of age, size, ability or disability."

Transport

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how the accessible parking spaces conform to 'Part M - Access and Use (2010)' from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government."
  • "provide evidence as to how the accessible parking spaces conform to a best practice document such as 'Building for Everyone: a Universal Design Approach' (from the National Disability Authority) or 'BS 8300:2009+a1:2010 Design of Buildings and their Approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of Practice' (from the British Standards Institution)."
Award criterion:
  • "provide details of accessible public transport to and from the venue."

Emergency management

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence of your policy, signed by senior management that lists the relevant laws, the responsible staff, and the aims and objectives for getting everybody, including people with disabilities, out of the venue if there is an emergency. your policy should conform to the advice in section 6.3, 'evacuation policy', of the National Disability Authority's 'Safe Evacuation for All' publication."
  • "provide evidence of a plan for getting everybody, including people with disabilities, out of the venue if there is an emergency."

Useful references

Office equipment

When office equipment is provided to your organisation, try to make sure that people with disabilities will be able to use that equipment. Ask your customers or colleagues who will be using the office equipment whether they have had problems when using office equipment in the past. Then add criteria to your request for tender to make sure that your office equipment will prevent those problems. For example, you might be buying a photocopier and a member of staff might have difficulty stapling paper (due to arthritis, parkinson's disease, or cerebral palsy, or some other condition). In that case, you could add this phrase as a minimum requirement or as a selection criterion in your request for tender: "the photocopier must be able to staple sheets automatically."

also, consider whether all of your staff can:

  • Read lcd panels and controls (some wheelchair users and people of restricted stature might not be able to see something that is positioned too high, and some people with restricted vision might find controls hard to see if they have small text or inadequate colour contrast)
  • Use touch-screen control panels (some people who have prosthetic hands or who use pointing sticks might find them impossible to use)
  • Use small buttons on machines
  • Load paper into office equipment easily (some people have limited ranges of motion).

consider asking tenderers to show that their equipment is easy to use and requires only a low physical effort.

Selection criterion:
  • "provide evidence as to how the equipment's controls are easy to reach, easy to see, and easy to operate, and can be operated by those with dexterity or mobility limitations."

Office furniture

ask your customers or colleagues who will be using the office furniture whether they have had problems in the past. then add criteria to your request for tender to make sure that your office furniture will prevent those problems. furniture should be free of sharp edges. relatively high, stiff-backed chairs are easier to get in and out of and provide good back support. seats should be wide enough for all customers, and should not be too low. some people, including some wheelchair-users, may require height-adjustable desks. to accommodate as many people as possible, provide:

  • Chairs of different heights and widths, including height-adjustable chairs
  • Chairs with arm-rests and chairs without arm-rests.

select fittings which require only light pressure to operate.

Selection criterion:
  • "provide evidence as to how the [office furniture] conforms to the advice in a best practice guide, such as 'building for everyone: a universal design approach' from the National Disability Authority."

Useful references

Public events

when your organisation organises, sponsors, or endorses a public event, try to make sure that the event's advertisements, registration, information, and venue are accessible to attendees with disabilities. Make sure that attendees with disabilities can travel to the venue easily, using accessible transport and accessible parking spaces. The venue, its signage, its reception areas, and its toilet facilities should all be accessible to attendees with disabilities. All attendees must be able to get out of the venue easily in an emergency. The room itself is essential and key considerations include good acoustics to ensure participants can hear the proceedings and the layout which should ensure that presenters can be seen by all, including those who need to lip-read. Staff such as event managers, receptionists, and catering staff should have completed disability equality training.

Venues

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how the venue conforms to 'venue checklist for consultation events' from building for everyone : a universal design approach, booklet 9, planning and policy, National Disability Authority." (see appendix 3)
  • "provide evidence as to how the venue conforms to 'part m - access and use (2010)' from the department of the environment, community and local government."
  • "provide evidence as to how the venue conforms to a best practice document such as 'building for everyone: a universal design approach' (from the National Disability Authority) or 'bs 8300:2009+a1:2010 design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. code of practice' (from the british standards institution)."
  • "provide details of the acoustic properties of the venue, and how the air conditioning and heating systems affect the sound quality. provide details of any induction loops available in auditoriums."
Award criterion:
  • "describe the accessibility of the venue, its layout, its signage, its reception areas, its catering facilities, and its toilet facilities."

Event management

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how you will be able to provide sign language interpreters, induction loop systems, and speed text services, if requested."
  • "provide evidence as to how you will be able to provide conference materials in accessible formats, such as large print, electronic format, and braille, if requested."
  • "provide evidence as to how you will be able to accommodate wheelchair users, personal assistants, and assistance animals such as guide dogs, as necessary."

Advertisements, registration and sign-up forms, information, and feedback forms

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how you have written simple, clear language for advertisements, registration and sign-up forms, information, and feedback forms."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have designed advertisements, registration and sign-up forms, information, and feedback forms that conform to clear print guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have created advertisements, registration and sign-up forms, information, and feedback forms that conform to the latest version of the web content accessibility guidelines."
  • "provide evidence as to how you have used captions (whether real-time, closed, or open) in video-based information."
Award criterion:
  • "provide evidence as to how you will gather information on reasonable accommodations."

Transport

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how the accessible parking spaces conform to 'part m - access and use (2010)' from the department of the environment, community and local government."
  • "provide evidence as to how the accessible parking spaces conform to a best practice document such as 'building for everyone: a universal design approach' (from the National Disability Authority) or 'bs 8300:2009+a1:2010 design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. code of practice' (from the british standards institution)."
Award criterion:
  • "provide details of accessible public transport to and from the venue."

Emergency management

This is a complex area, and you should give it a lot of consideration. Here are some of the issues involved:

  • Particular difficulties faced by people with disabilities, in recognising alarms, responding to those alarms, and moving to a safe place
  • Individual needs of employees, visitors, other building occupiers, special interest groups, and enforcement agencies
  • Types of emergency warning systems installed and alternative features to assist people with disabilities
  • Wayfinding issues for people with disabilities, and technological solutions
  • The design, location and use of refuges and safe areas in the building
  • Circulation within the building, stairs, lifts, and possible methods for moving wheelchairs vertically
  • Use of evacuation lifts or other lifts for vertical escape
  • Personal emergency egress plans (peeps) for all who require them
  • Emergency egress plans.
Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence of your policy, signed by senior management that lists the relevant laws, the responsible staff, and the aims and objectives for getting everybody, including people with disabilities, out of the venue if there is an emergency. your policy should conform to the advice in section 6.3, 'evacuation policy', of the National Disability Authority's 'Safe Evacuation for All' publication."
  • "provide evidence of a plan for getting everybody, including people with disabilities, out of the venue if there is an emergency."

Front line and support staff

Award criterion:
  • "provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."

Useful references

Telephone-based services

Some people may find it hard to cope with telephone based services such as automatic answering systems or call centres. Hearing too many options, options that are presented too quickly, or options that use complex language can make these services difficult to use.

Services

Selection criteria:
  • "provide evidence as to how your service will cater for customers with hearing loss who use email, sms text messages, or a textphone (sometimes referred to as a 'minicom') to contact the call centre."
Award criterion:
  • "provide evidence as to how your service will be easy for customers with disabilities to use."

Staff

Award criterion:
  • "provide details of your approach to disability equality training and how your staff who will deal with our staff or customers have been trained."

Useful references

Suggested curriculum for disability equality training

If your organisation receives any service, make sure that the staff who provide that service have attended disability equality training before starting work for you. Your employees should attend disability equality training too. The training can be accessed through an experienced trainer, elearning (electronically supported learning such as computer-based training) or a mixture of those.

the training should include:

  • Definition of disability
  • What do we mean by disability?
  • What are the practical accommodations to meet the needs of customers with disabilities in Ireland?
  • Disability and society
  • How do we view disability in society?
  • How does the social model differ from the medical model?
  • How does society restrict people with disabilities?
  • How can we create a more inclusive society?
  • Equality and disability
  • What is reasonable accommodation?
  • What are the legal duties and responsibilities of public bodies?
  • What legislation covers disabled people's rights to equal status and employment opportunities? (this should include the disability act 2005, the National Disability Authority's "code of practice on accessibility of public services and information provided by public bodies", the united nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (2006), the employment equality acts 1998-2008, and the equal status acts 2000-2008)
  • How some people with disabilities can face discrimination in other dimensions, such as racism.
  • Disability and communication
  • What language should i use when interacting with, or referring to, people with disabilities?
  • How does my organisation interact with people with disabilities?
  • What myths and misconceptions exist about people with disabilities?
  • Proactive approach
  • What are my organisation's equal opportunities policies and procedures?
  • What is accessibility?
  • How could my organisation be more accessible?
  • How can i improve my own practices to be more inclusive of people with disabilities?

Look for a trainer who developed their training course after consulting people with disabilities.

Staff who have attended training about disability will be able to interact more confidently and more effectively with people who have disabilities. Remember that staff will need an ongoing programme of disability equality training.

Disability equality training courses should be backed up by the development of written policies setting out the organisation's commitments in this area. Those policies should be easily accessible by all staff, and should be monitored to demonstrate their impact.