Making public procurement disability-Inclusive: learning space by Bridging the Gap

27 February 2020

On the 27th February, EDF attended an event organised by the EU project Bridging the Gap. The event was a learning space, which focused on disability-inclusive procurement. Universally designed products and services, including new technologies, can be a great enabler to overcome the barriers that persons with disabilities face everyday. In fact, it is clear that public money must be spent to include everyone. Inclusive procurement gives also concrete opportunities for specific and measurable progress on disability. In Europe, public procurement is a big business, with about 17% of the EU GDP. There is a consensus across the EU that enhanced accessibility of products and services enhanced everyone’s life. The 2014 European directive on public procurement outlines that any services and items that will be used by persons should be accessible and take into account accessibility criteria for persons with disabilities, or design for all users. However, in practice, enforced mechanisms and measurable indicators must be put in place.

The participants of the learning space focused on the preparation of a new disability-inclusive procurement discussion paper which will be published in the spring. The key concepts included in the paper will include universal design, the obligation and right to “reasonable accommodation (failure of this provision amounts of discrimination), seamless connectivity to move between physical and virtual realities without barriers, the need to incentive suppliers and preferential contracting to award suppliers that demonstrate CRPD compliance.

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