The latest and final draft of a new European Standard for the accessibility of ICT products and services procured by the public sector – known as “Mandate 376” – is to be placed online next week, E-Access Bulletin has learned.
Users, developers, manufacturers, public bodies and procurers will have until October to offer feedback on the standard and associated documents before formal work begins on legislation this autumn.
The work, co-funded by the European Commission, is being carried out by European standards organisations. It aims to harmonise accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT across Europe, and to provide a set of tools for the use of procurers.
“Informal feedback on the draft standard is urgently needed before it is submitted to the formal – and lengthy – standards-making process”, said Dave Sawdon of TRE Projects, who is working on the project for the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
Sawdon said the commission hopes the finished standard will “promote the procurement of accessible ICT products and services by public bodies and hence promote the general development and adoption of more accessible ICT.
“In support of this and to build a coherent EU-US market it is hoped to maximise commonality between the emerging EU standard and the ongoing refresh of Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act.” Section 508 is a US law requiring public bodies to ensure the ICT systems they buy are accessible.
The new draft will be published at: