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  • Question

    Where do I find all the 508 clauses?


    Answer

    FAR Subpart 39.2 implements section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d), and the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Standards (36 CFR part 1194).  The law and the implementing FAR sections require that when acquiring Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) agencies must assure that:
     
     (1) Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and
    (2) Members of the public with disabilities seeking information or services from an agency have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of information and data by members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities 
     
    FAR 39.203 and 39.204 describe the applicability and exceptions to this law.
     
    Neither the FAR nor the DFARS have clauses directly associated with the law.  In 2001 with the issuance of the  final rule incorporating Section 508 compliance into the FAR, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council noted that “[s]ome commentors asked for a clause, pointing out that unless the FAR prescribes a clause, agencies may produce different clauses, resulting in inconsistent coverage across the Government.  Some procurement offices want a clause to help address their lack of experience with the Access Board standards. No clauses were in the January proposed rule. The FAR Council is carefully considering whether clauses are needed and welcomes comments on this issue that would inform a potential rulemaking.”  Since that time, however,  no clauses have been issued.
     
    However, section 508 compliance is infused throughout the FAR, including Part 11, which requires
    that “[i]n accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d), requiring activities must prepare requirements documents for electronic and information technology that comply with the applicable accessibility standards issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board at 36 CFR part 1194.” FAR 11.002(f).
     The best resource for determining how to incorporate appropriate language appears to be at the government website specifically dedicated to Section 508.  The main site is  http://www.section508.gov.  Within that site there is information on the role of the procurement official and guidance on creating 508 compliant IT solicitations at http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=BuyAccessiblePO.  Digging deeper uncovers a PDF guidance document and a wizard for more specific guidance given the particulars of a given acquisition.

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