It's official: Level Access and eSSENTIAL Accessibility are becoming one! Read the Press Release.

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) was developed jointly by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and General Services Administration (GSA) to assist Federal Government contracting officials and other buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the commercial availability of ICT products and services with features that support accessibility.

ITI is updating the VPAT to cover changes to Section 508 that were finalized and published in 2017, commonly known as the “Section 508 Refresh,” which incorporates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0 or ISO/IEC 40500) by reference. VPAT 2.0 also can be used to report against WCAG 2.0 and the European standard EN 301 549.

ITI has renamed the original VPAT to VPAT 1.0 and developed a new version of the template, VPAT 2.0, the latest (beta) version of which was published in July 2017. The beta version of VPAT 2.0 includes extensive instructions on how to fill out the VPAT with guidance and best practices. VPAT 2.0 is expected to be finalized sometime in (or before) the last quarter of 2017.

Specifically, VPAT 2.0 supports documentation of conformance to:

  • Section 508 Refresh 2017 (Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  • WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria & Conformance Requirements (Levels A, AA, AAA)
  • EN 301 549 (Chapters 4-13)

VPAT 2.0 should be used by vendors who need to comply with the Section 508 Refresh Standards in one of two scenarios. First, Section 508 Refresh compliance is required for ICT that is used, maintained, developed, and procured by U.S. Federal Government agencies after January 18, 2018, with a safe harbor for existing ICT. Second, when components of ICT have been updated after January 18, 2018, those components must follow the Section 508 Refresh Standards. ICT that is developed before January 18, 2018 but not used until after that date should follow the Section 508 Refresh Standards. VPAT 1.0 can still be used when documenting compliance with ICT developed before January 18, 2018 and not modified since then.

Want to learn more about VPAT® 2.0?Register for the VPAT webinar

Access the resources from our free, on-demand webinar: Navigating VPAT® 2.0: A Guide for Vendors.

Ken Salaets, ITI Director of Global Policy, and Bill Curtis-Davidson, Level Access Senior Director of Program & Policy Services, break down the new VPAT and how to best use it.

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And download our free Whitepaper: Navigating VPAT® 2.0: A Guide for Vendors 

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® and VPAT® are registered trademarks of Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.