What is the VPAT Section 508 compliance statement?
A VPAT Section 508 compliance statement is a public information page that relays a company's or organization's internal organizational policies, its accessibility objectives with regard to Section 508, and its prior achievements in relation to serving and cooperating with people with disabilities within the context of Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.
VPAT testing of the targeted information and communication technology (ICT) product or service and completion of the VPAT 508 document to produce the product's or service's accessibility compliance report (ACR) are often conducted before the VPAT statement is created.
The VPAT 508 history
The VPAT 508 is one of the four VPAT editions created by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) to meet the demands of the various accessibility markets. The European Union (EU) VPAT, the International (INT.) VPAT, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) VPAT are the other editions.
The origins of VPAT 508 lay in the 1998 amendment to the U.S. Rehabilitation Act by Congress, which requires all federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. This was done with the knowledge that inaccessible technology hinders a person's capacity to get information and use it as quickly and readily as feasible.
The goal of Section 508 is to remove obstacles that prevent individuals with disabilities from using and accessing electronic and informational technology and to open up new opportunities for them. Additionally, it aims to promote the creation of EITs that will aid in the achievement of accessibility objectives.
All federal agencies are required by law to give employees and members of the public with disabilities access to information on par with that provided to those without disabilities.
Understanding and upholding Section 508 compliance is necessary for providers of EIT products and services, both in the public and private spheres, as well as the vendors who offer ICT products and services based on EIT.
Section 508 will apply to you if you are a producer or supplier of an IET product or service that is intended for use by federal employees. Furthermore, even if you don't sell the technology to the general public directly, Section 508 still applies to you if it is made available to them.
It's also crucial to realize that Section 508 may apply to you if you offer EIT that will be utilized by anyone who is directly or indirectly financed by the federal government, since it will be assumed that you get federal funding.
However, you won't be compelled to comply with Section 508, which is why the VPAT 508 is available for those who voluntarily desire to do so. You won't be chosen as an IET provider by a government agency or a federally supported organization if you choose not to comply.
Only ICT products and services with properly completed VPAT 508 documentation are permitted to take part in procurement procedures for government agencies as well as for organizations receiving federal funding.
Do vendors who use EIT need VPAT Section 508 compliance statements?
Section 508 applies to you if you are a vendor who utilizes technology, like a website, that is utilized by anybody who receives funding from the federal government, whether directly or indirectly. If federally financed buyers discover you aren't VPAT 508 compliant, they won't consider you as a possible vendor, even though they might want to employ your products or services.
Imagine having to be bypassed in business by companies that might not offer higher-quality products and services simply because you don't comply with VPAT 508 certification. This means that if your products are not VPAT-508 certified or if your VPATs are out of date, you could be losing business.
How to secure VPAT 508 certification
Because Section 508 deals with sophisticated technology that is widely used, you should determine whether your company is covered so that you don't miss out. Unfortunately, some EIT providers make the mistake of trying to provide their own VPAT 508 reports, which falls short of what many procurement teams and contracting officials want.
A full grasp of the accessibility domain, as well as accessibility regulations and dynamics, is required for Section 508 VPAT certification, which comprises thorough VPAT testing of the targeted product or service. After the test, the VPAT paperwork must be carefully filled out in order to produce the ACR. This too calls for expertise.
Finally, expertise is needed to create a VPAT statement of compliance that concisely summarizes internal accessibility goals and procedures as well as prior achievements. You should thus seek the assistance of a third-party accessibility specialist to guide you through the VPAT Section 508 compliance procedures.
Need help with VPAT Section 508 compliance?
If you are an EIT vendor, you need to comply with VPAT 508 in order to market your products to sizable segments of the economy. If you sell goods or services but don't deal in EIT, you might need a second opinion to help you seriously consider if you need Section 508 compliance for any of your customer-facing technologies, particularly websites.
When it comes to VPAT compliance, ADACP assists EIT providers and other vendors in evaluating their operations and providing the necessary support to be compliant. You can study the Section 508 VPAT example they completed to see how a VPAT 508 ACR is completed, or you can call them at (626) 486-220 for assistance with generating or upgrading your VPATs.