A VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a self-assessment document completed by a vendor that provides relevant information on how their product or service claims to conform to Accessibility Standards.
If a vendor does not know what a VPAT is or needs assistance in filling one out, you may use the VPAT Request Template below to help explain the process.
Sample VPAT Request Template
Dear (contact person),
SF State, along with the California State University system (CSU), is committed to creating a culture of access for an inclusive learning and working environment that ensures all campus information resources and technologies are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. This commitment has been codified at the systemwide level resulting in the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI.)
We are therefore required to purchase the most accessible Section 508-compliant products and services and the first step of this process is to request a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) from the vendor, manufacturer, or developer of the technology product.
Here is a link to a document that introduces the VPAT and templates for all six Section 508 categories - VPAT Guide. It is a comprehensive guide for your technicians that will help them understand the various criteria within the template(s), along with the criteria’s application to Assistive Technology.
At first glance these documents may appear overwhelming. To lessen the 'blow', I'd suggest searching the internet for large companies who have VPATs posted to their corporate websites. Microsoft and Oracle are two examples of companies that have well-documented VPATs, and that have also produced 508 accessibility roadmaps. Your familiarity with their products, coupled with your knowledge of your own products should make the criteria within the VPAT less opaque.
Having completed VPAT documents will assist us in determining your products level of 508 compliance. We trust that you will arrange the resources necessary for completing a VPAT for each of your products. Your commitment to providing us with a VPAT will help us determine if the purchase can move forward.
Thank you and please contact me if you have further questions.