Accessibility in supplier contracts

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The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 places all legal burden on the public sector body. Suppliers are not directly held responsible for the accessibility of their products that you decide to use.

While there are some complexities to some 3rd party content responsibilities in the regulations, it is normally safe to assume that if you have paid for a service by a 3rd party supplier, you will want them to make the product as accessible as possible to help you comply with your regulation obligations.

With no direct recourse in the regulations to hold suppliers responsible, it is important to include clauses on accessibility into contract negotiations. Sometimes just the written requirement that the supplier will provide a product or service which complies with all relevant pieces of legislation may be suitable, but it is always best to be as specific as possible.

What to include

Contract clauses template

Download a copy of the contract wording template

This contract wording has been created in collaboration with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and several London Universities to ensure consistent world leading accessibility standards are embedded within all products or services as part of all procurement process to benefit everyone involved in its delivery. This is part of an ongoing relationship to make the UK Higher Education sector more inclusive and accessible to all.

We hope that the template will be of use to others, but as with any contract, these clauses may be negotiated by both parties, and we suggest that you still seek your own legal advice before use.

This publication is issued as guidance only. It is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. All collaborators on this content accept no liability for any errors, omissions or any consequences, losses or damages arising from any use of, or reliance placed on, this publication. You need to ensure that any contractual terms are appropriate for your organisation. You should seek advice from a suitably qualified professional.

The MTA template

Note that content in the example below marked in square brackets [ ] refers to content you would replace with your own information. In the download this is also visibly highlighted.

It is Agreed as follows:

1. Definitions and interpretation

In this Agreement (including the Introduction) unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions apply:

2. Accessibility

2.1 [The Supplier] shall:

  1. ensure the SaaS Services strictly conform with the requirements of the WCAG, the ATAG and applicable Accessibility Regulations;

  2. Where not compliant produce an Accessibility Roadmap for [The Customer’s] approval within [15] Business Days of the Commencement Date;

  3. subject to [The Customer’s] approval, promptly implement and comply with the Accessibility Roadmap;

  4. comply with applicable Accessibility Regulations;

  5. ensure that the entirety of the SaaS Services are accessible, including ensuring that the SaaS Services encompasses all components of the digital or other system for use by [The Customer], including the following:

    1. external facing screens;
    2. internal facing screens;
    3. administration facing screens;
    4. password verification systems;
    5. authentication processes; and
    6. all communications, including emails, generated document formats, confirmation user action, receipt of acknowledgment, requests, additional correspondence, requests for further information, and use of third-party plugins.

2.2 [The Supplier] acknowledges and agrees that [The Customer’s] approval of the Accessibility Roadmap shall not act as an endorsement of the Accessibility Roadmap and shall not relieve [The Supplier] of its responsibility for ensuring that the SaaS Services are provided to the standard required by this Clause.

2.3 Upon request by [The Customer], [The Supplier] shall provide [The Customer] with information for [The Customer] to:

  1. assess whether [The Supplier] has complied with this Clause;
  2. produce an Accessibility Statement;
  3. conduct an assessment to determine whether compliance with this Clause would impose a disproportionate burden on [The Customer] in accordance with applicable Accessibility Regulations; and/or
  4. demonstrate [The Customer’s] compliance with the Accessibility Regulations to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

2.4 [The Supplier] shall incur all costs and expenses in complying with the Accessibility Regulations, including any modification of all digital or other systems and/or all components of digital or other systems which form part of the SaaS Services, to ensure such compliance.

2.5 Subject to [The Customer] notifying [The Supplier] that it has breached any of its obligations in this Clause (Notice of Default), [The Supplier] shall (without prejudice to [The Customer’s] other rights and [The Supplier’s] other obligations under this Agreement) use commercially reasonable endeavours to remedy that breach.

NOTE: The below sections are suggestions for dealing with breaches. The below example text covers if your organisation uses Service Credits as a way of enforcing adherence to contract terms, or if you would seek legal damages. Please replace with your relevant terms for remunerations and enforcement where applicable to your own organisation.

2.6 If [The Supplier] does not remedy the notified breach(es) within [10] Business Days of its receipt of any Notice of Default, then (at [The Customer’s] election):

  1. [The Supplier] shall award to [The Customer] Service Credits in accordance with Clause [Add clause on service credits] for every day that [The Supplier] is in breach of this Clause. The award of such Service Credits shall commence on the date of [The Supplier’s] receipt of the Notice of Default; and/or
  2. [The Customer] may terminate this Agreement with immediate effect by giving written notice of such termination to [The Supplier].

2.7 Within [5] Business Days of Supplier’s receipt of a request by [The Customer] pursuant to Clause 2.6 (a), [The Supplier] shall promptly issue a credit note to [The Customer] for any Service Credits that [The Customer] is entitled to. [The Supplier] shall pay such Service Credits as a debt to [The Customer] within [30] Business Days of the issue of the credit note.

2.8 In the event of non-compliance of accessibility standards [The Supplier] shall be liable to defend and pay any claims against [The Customer].

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