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Washington, D.C. 20240
In Reply Refer To:
1296, 1510 (560; 855) I        
Information Memorandum No. 2013-138
Expires: 09/30/2014        
To:                 All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From:             Assistant Director, Information Resources Management
Subject:          Guidance on Conducting Accessibility Market Research
Program Area: Information Resources Management Governance, Acquisition Management       
Purpose: This Information Memorandum (IM) provides instructions for all State/Center and acquisition offices to ensure that proper market research is conducted and documented in the acquisition of goods and services that contain 508 Compliance attributes.
Policy/Action: Agency Program Personnel are required, by law, to conduct market research as a means of ensuring the desired items are available. All market research conducted for the planned purchase of Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) products or services must be documented in writing.  The General Services Administration (GSA) has outlined accessibility on their website located at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/105254. This website contains roles and responsibilities for acquisition and program personnel to perform in line with market research and Section 508 compliance according to GSA.  
A. Contracting Officers at a minimum shall:
1. Review and comply with the of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 7 and FAR Subparts 11.002(f) and 39.2 by ensuring Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, standards are considered in acquisition planning documents and procurement requirements for E&IT and that deliverables meet accessibility standards.
2. Include appropriate Section 508 accessibility standards in requirements and acquisition planning documents and agreements.
B. Contracting Officer’s Representative and Program Personnel shall:
1. Include appropriate Section 508 accessibility standards in acquisition planning and requirement documents.
2. Verify that products or services delivered under an agreement meet the accessibility terms and conditions included in a contract prior to accepting deliverables.
C. Purchase Cardholders shall confirm the accessibility standards of products or services are available prior to purchase.
The attachment “Guidance on Conducting Accessibility Market Research” offers Program Personnel several methods to achieve quality market research. It also provides information on the Vendor Accessibility Resource Center (ARC). The ARC is a list of vendors that provide accessibility information on their company website. The ARC is available to use as a tool along with the Buy Accessible Wizard located at www.buyaccessible.gov.
Timeframe:    EffectiveImmediately.
Budget impacts: Minor-Moderate. This process is designed to minimize the burden and resources required for this unplanned effort.
Background: According to GSA, federal agencies must have policies in place for Section 508, market research, statements of work, and solicitations. The purchase request package must document proper market research for accessible goods and services. Market research aids program personnel in identifying current needs for agency access to accessible, assistive and adaptive technology (hardware/software).Once the aforementioned policies are in place the BLM will have to amend its MS-1510 - Acquisition and MS-1511- Assistance Agreements manuals to reflect Section 508 compliance.
Manual/Handbook Sections Effected: BLM MS-1510 - Acquisition and MS-1511 - Assistance Agreements.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated by the Division of IRM Governance (WO-560), the Division of Acquisitions and Financial Assistance (WO-855), and the Accessibility Working Group.
Contact: For Section 508 Compliance issues contact Kimberly Ashby at 202-912-7551. For contracting issues contact Eric Pagal at 202-912-7073.
Signed by:                                                                           Authenticated by:
Lisa Jollay                                                                           Catherine Emmett
Acting Assistant Director,                                                      Division of IRM Governance, WO-560
Information Resources Management   

Last updated: 06-12-2013