Sep 03 2015

NASCIO Highlights Texas and Minnesota in Issuing Advice for State CIOs on IT Accessibility

Both states are using the policy-driven method of introducing information and communications technology to state CIOs, vendors and procurement organizations.

Last month, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) shared a second batch of information about improving accessibility. At the moment, states are still trying to pinpoint the best way to fuse information communications technology (ICT) with government procurement processes. The new release speaks to how two states — Texas and Minnesota — are trying to accomplish this by implementing Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA).

According to NASCIO, states should devote more time to figuring out how to incorporate ICT accessibility into policy. “As significant buyers of information and communications technology, states have an obligation to set the public policy direction and the opportunity to stimulate the capabilities of the supplier community,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson explained in a news release. A little more than a year ago, Texas began applying the PDAA principles.

A state Department of Information Resources (DIR) Cooperative Contracts program initiated the process in August 2014. After analyzing PDAA resources, “Education IT Products and Services” request for offerings (RFO) DIR-TSOTMP-213 was chosen as the first solicitation. As NASCIO explains>, this was used as the model for vendors responding to the RFO:

The PDAA self-assessment form responses were not included in the scoring criteria used in awarding contracts, as scoring criteria is controlled statutorily; however the assessment results are being used to establish PDAA baselines for responding vendors. These results can then be compared to PDAA responses received in future solicitations as a way to track vendor progress in their accessibility initiatives. Additionally, the PDAA self-assessment results will be made available to individual DIR customers (agencies) upon request so that customers can consider the results in conjunction with other accessibility related information provided (such as VPAT™) as part of their own decision making processes.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is starting its own PDAA pilot program. After seeking self-assessments from an array of vendors, the state will pool responses from vendors and administrators to determine how to proceed with its rollout.

As more states work to improve their ICT accessibility, Texas and Minnesota will stand out as models for PDAA use.