Sample Accessibility Policy
Organizations and companies can adopt this or a similar policy to encourage inclusion in every setting for members of the Disability Community.
An Access Ready Environments Sample Policy
It shall be the intent of “this entity” to put in place general and specific policies designed to support and implement the Access Ready Environments initiative. Just as physical structures are required to be accessible to people with disabilities when they are designed, built and/or renovated, the public and employee facing information technology infrastructure must also be accessible to people with disabilities. The twenty-first century is the age of information technologies and in order to assure the full inclusion of people with disabilities these technologies must be required to be as accessible as possible. “This entity” must play a leading role in furthering these requirements in order to provide citizens with disabilities equal access to the services and employment opportunities that it provides.
“This entity” shall require that all proposals given in response to its intent to purchase, lease or otherwise utilize any information technology or emerging technology include within the proposal how the recommended goods or services will be accessible to people with disabilities. Any vender submitting a proposal must be prepared to demonstrate the accessibility of the technology to a recognized disability organization and/or a body of individuals with expertise in the fields of disability and accessibility appointed by “this entity” for practical usability testing. All technologies proposed to “this entity” must meet the standards set under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, and/or other appropriate accessibility standards as needed. Simple compliance is not sufficient, usability is the final standard.
“This entity” requires that all of its associated leadership, departments and personnel put the Access Ready Environments initiative into consideration when developing, proposing or administering all programs and/or services. Furthermore, it is the policy of “this entity” that access for people with disabilities shall be a first consideration at the beginning of all program and service development along with the information technologies that support them, that accessibility considerations shall not be an afterthought under any circumstances, that information technology departments make a concerted effort to investigate and be aware of accessibility features and capabilities in order to include them into the design of information technology system requirements, and that these efforts shall include the opinions of people with disabilities who are actual users of such features.
The unemployment rate among people with disabilities often approaches 70% and it is necessary that the Access Ready Environments initiative be utilized to provide opportunities for employees with all types of disabilities. “This entity” requires that employment decision makers will not consider the accessibility costs related to the employment of a person with a disability with the Access Ready Environments initiative in place. Leaders developing programs and services shall take careful consideration of potential opportunities for employees with disabilities and shall seek input from vocational rehabilitation experts in those considerations. The Federal government has set a requirement that all contractors shall meet a goal of 7% of their entire employee base being people with disabilities at all levels. “This entity” shall seek to meet the same requirement.
“This entity” intends that this policy look forward to make changes in the natural course of events and the development of programs and services. That changes be made to current systems when and where ever possible and with in reasonable costs. Until permanent access can be provided reasonable accommodations will be made for people with disabilities. Such temporary accommodations shall not be used as a reason for not requiring accessibility features be made a part of any future information technology purchase requirements. This shift to an Access Ready Environment will not be allowed to take longer than ten years from the date of this policy. “This entity” requires that “a specifically appointed body” report annually on the progress made by all parts of “this entity”.