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Specialist Task Force 333:
European Accessibility Requirements for Public Procurement of
Products and Services in the ICT Domain
(EC Standardization Mandate M 376, Phase 1) 

For an accessible version (providing the same content to an accessibility level of W3C WAI WCAG1.0 AA(A)), click here

Who we are:

Team Members: Nikos Floratos
Bruno von Niman (STF Leader)
Walter Mellors
Sean Hayes
Gunnar Hellström
Richard Hodgkinson



Latest news: The ETSI Technical Report has been published (available below, together with all public draft versions and the full log of comments received (with team resolutions)

First public draft released on November 20, 2007 for information and comments, due by January 10, 2008.

Second public draft, released on February 12, 2008 for information and comments, due by March 4, 2008

Third public draft, released on March 17, 2008 for information and comments due by April 16, 2008.

Fourth (and last) public draft for comments, released on May 19, 2008 for information and comments due by August 11 (18h00 CET), 2008.

Final draft for ESO TB cross-approval (by ETSI TC HF, CEN BT WG 185 and CENELEC BT WG101-5). The ESO cross-approval meeting will be hosted by ETSI, in Sophia Antipolis, France on October 8, 2008, during 14h00- 18h00.

Note: Invited experts from DATSCG or other stakeholder organisations who are not members of the relevant CEN/CENELEC or ETSI Committees may attend (please send a registration request to not later than Friday, October 3,  14h00 CET). Please note that you will be permitted to comment on the draft deliverables but not to vote on the documents being presented for approval.

The log of all 319 comments, input and proposals received until October 8, 2008 is available here (also including brief STF333’s resolutions about how the comments have been addressed).

The addressing of the 175 comments received on the 4th Public draft is reflected by the Final draft (version 50, provided above).

All comments received during the ETSI TC Human Factors and joint ESO cross-approval meeting on October 8, 2008 are implemented in the ESO TB-approved (by CEN BT WG 185, CENELEC BT WG101-5 and ETSI TC Human Factors), version, v51, available here. This same version has, by February 2009, been approved by the CEN and CENELEC Technical Committee Management Groups (BTs).

The document, ETSI Technical Report TR 102 612 (available here) has been published by ETSI, following the conclusion of the approval process.

We would like to thank all those who have followed the work, provided appreciated guidance and contributed with their valuable time, efforts and input to the development of the Technical Report and the successful conclusion of the work M 376 Phase I work!

The elaboration of Phase II is under elaboration, in coordination between the ESOs (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI).

What we do :

In response to the European Commission’s Mandate M 376, the European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) have responded by setting up a project and dividing the work between them according to their respective strengths and skill sets. The authoring of the ETSI contribution to the ESOs response to the mandate is being carried out within the ETSI Human Factors Technical Committee, by STF333.

The team is developing ETSI Technical Report (TR) 102 612, that sets out the results of the ETSI part of Phase I of the M 376 work. The TR:

  • Characterizes the public procurement of ICT products and services;
  • Provides a listing of existing functional accessibility requirements:
  • Identifies gaps where no accessibility requirements exist;
  • Provides a list of relevant existing national, European and international standards and technical specifications; and
  • Gives proposals for standardization work for the development of requirements and award criteria that still do not exist or that are not yet standardized.

The TR (under development) is intended to provide all the necessary information to fully support the standardization activities required in Phase II of the mandated work.

The parts relating to the assessment of suitable testing and conformity schemes are being authored by our colleagues in CEN BT/WG185/PT, in close co-ordination across the ESOs. The two projects are closely coordinated.

The ETSI work and draft TR have been presented to the public with several occasions, e.g. at the ICTSB DATSCG meeting on April 16 (presentation available here) and the Open Meeting, held during June 3-4, 2008, in Brussels (presentation available here).

The Terms of Reference document for this work is available here.

Why we do it:

People with disabilities and older people make up a large part of the population in the European Union. An estimated 90 million people, or 20% of the population, belong to this group showing that accessibility is a major issue. With the changing age structure and the fact that disability is strongly related to age, the European Union faces a coming major challenge to maintain and improve the quality of life, independence and integration of these citizens. ICT plays a growing and important role in the economic, educational and social life of Europeans. Therefore, access to mainstream ICT is crucial for all, including people with disabilities and older persons. Making this technology, and the services using it, more accessible would facilitate the inclusion of this already disadvantaged group. It is socially, ethically, economically and politically important that the advantages of ICT are made available to as many citizens as possible.

Although the new generation of technology provides numerous new opportunities for people with disabilities and older persons, new technology can also be troublesome from an accessibility point of view. There has not been sufficient market reaction to what has been done at a policy level to enhance accessibility. This new mandate builds upon previous work, and deals with the development of European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain.

ICT products should be designed in an accessible manner so that people with disabilities and elderly persons can use and profit from them in the same way as everyone else. In doing so harmonization of these requirements will not only facilitate the work of industry, it will also enlarge markets, and provide potential buyers with better products and services. The inclusion of accessibility requirements in public procurement will constitute an incentive for manufacturers to develop and to offer accessible devices, applications and services, which in turn will benefit people with disabilities and older people but also will be to the benefit of other users. To achieve this accessibility goal, it is necessary to:

- harmonise and facilitate the public procurement of accessible ICT products and services by identifying a set of functional European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain, and

- provide a mechanism through which the public procurers have access to an electronic toolkit, enabling them to make use of these harmonized requirements in procurement processes.

EC Mandate M/376 requests that the standards organizations work to harmonize, throughout Europe, those accessibility requirements that may be applied, regardless of the value of the purchase to public procurement of ICT products and services and thereby to achieve interoperability.

The work performed under this Mandate could give an incentive both for the market and public organizations to take the aspect of accessibility into further consideration, and to foster interoperability and harmonization at an EU level. Although the most significant field of application of the results of the mandate is for public procurement, the results could be useful (as guidelines and recommendations) for other purposes, such as ICT procurement in the private sector.

Time plan for the work:

This is a draft time plan that may be adjusted at many time:

September 2007 Start of work and progress reporting to ETSI TC Human Factors (HF)#44.
October 2007 First coordination meetings with CEN/BT/WG185 and the ICTSB/DATSCG.
November 2007 Release of first public ETSI Draft TR (bi-monthly updates will follow).
First reporting to the Steering Committee on November 23, in Brussels (hosted by CEN).
January 2008 Second coordination meetings with CEN/BT/WG185 and the ICTSB/DATSCG.
February 2008 Progress reporting to ETSI TC Human Factors #45.
March 2008 Interim Progress Report to the European Commission and EFTA.
April 2008 Third coordination meetings with CEN/BT/WG185 and the ICTSB/DATSCG detailed draft presentation (on April 16, at the CEN/CENELEC meeting center).
May 2008 Final Public Draft ETSI DTR 102 612 available for comment (until August 11), two weeks before the Open Meeting (June 3-4).
June 2008

Open Mee0ting and progress reporting to ETSI TC HF#46.

The open meeting was held in Brussels and provided stakeholders with an opportunity to express and discuss their feedback on the technical reports and state their requirements for the implementation of the next phase of the Mandate, as the work of the two teams was be near completion.

Note: A limited discretionary budget was available to fund the travel costs of some disabled people (or their representatives), who needed to participate in consensus building activities but were prevented from doing so because of the costs involved.

September 2008 Development work ends. The final Draft will be made available (not later than September 24), for ESO cross-approval.
October 2008 Progress reporting to ETSI TC HF#47 and ESO cross-approval (by ETSI TC HF, CEN BT Working Group 185 and CENELEC BT Working Group 101-5), at a co-located meeting (hosted by ETSI), on October 8.
February 2009 Final report to ETSI TC HF#48, concluding the work and confirming the publication of the ETSI Technical Report.
March 2009 Final Report to the European Commission and EFTA and closure of the project.
The M 376 Phase II work will follow.

How to contact us:

We welcome your requirements, input and comments. The preferred means to contact us is by e-mail to the STF leader Alternatively, we can accept:

-         Voice calls: +46 733 66 12 34,

-         Text calls (v.21): +46 8 556 002 05 and

-         Total conversation (SIP only; speech, text and sign language supported):

Preliminary public draft
release dates
Commenting deadlines  Status and notes
November 20, 2007 January 10, 2008 First public draft
February 12, 2008 March 4, 2008 Second public draft
March 17, 2008 April 16, 2008 Third public draft
May 19, 2008 August 11, 2008 (18:00 CET) Final Public Draft for public comments
September 24, 2008 Following ETSI approval procedure and cross-ESO approval process Final draft for ETSI TC HF, CEN BT Working Group 185 and CENELEC BT Working Group 101-5) approval
NOTE: The above dates are preliminary and subject to change at any time, as required by the progress of the work. An additional (post - Open Workshop) draft version may be announced later.

Note: Comments provided on a specific numbered version of the draft ETSI Technical Report (TR) must respect the commenting deadlines specified above and use the form provided in Annex 3 of the draft TR. Other, general comments may be provided at any time (until August 11, 18:00 CET, 2008).

This home page will be kept updated for the latest news, development of the work and latest available public draft version.

Note: this information is based upon STF working assumptions.
The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of ETSI in this context.

Last updated: 2009-04-03 15:55:55