The Guideline provides several inputs on how to include requirements for universal design in a procurement process.
20.4 Duty to take into account universal design
Universal design is to ensure that solutions are available and that they can be used by everyone regardless of functional ability. Section 5, fourth paragraph, requires that the client shall set out requirements for universal design in public contracts. These requirements are further specified in the Regulations. Section 15-2 requires that the requirements specifications must take into account universal design when acquiring goods and services to be used by persons, whether it is the general public or employees of the client, unless exceptions can be justified in particular. The provisions are based on directive provisions. To the extent that there are already general legislation that requires universal design, such as in the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Act and the Planning and Building Act, these requirements must also be followed in connection with public procurement. This applies, for example, to buildings, transport and ICT. In such cases, the requirements specifications shall refer to these provisions.
However, the universal design requirement basically applies to all acquisitions to be used by people, although it does not already apply to a general requirement for universal design for that area. With the exception of the design of new work buildings, for example, there is no requirement for universal design when designing jobs in the general legislation, but the procurement regulations’ requirements for universal design also include procurements to be used by employees of the employer. However, in such cases where there are no other mandatory requirements, the client will be freer to decide how the requirements specifications should be designed to take into account universal design. Areas where it may particularly be relevant to demand universal design are, for example, procurements in the sectors of construction, transport and ICT, and by other procurements in employment, school and education.
If there is no other legislation with mandatory requirements for universal design, the requirement to take into account universal design applies unless exceptions can be otherwise justified. This exemption provision is very broadly formulated, and the regulations say nothing more about what lies in this requirement. However, the European Commission has submitted a proposal for new Accessibility Directive to clarify the contents of the procurement directives’ provisions on universal design requirements. The European Commission believes that the requirement for universal design should not apply when this will be disproportionately burdensome. The client must carry out a proportionality assessment in which calculated costs for the client by making demands for universal design must be weighed against the benefits for people with disabilities. One must then take into account how often and how long the goods, services or building/plant will be used by persons with disabilities. In addition, it is relevant to look into what kind of organ the principal is, including the size of the business and the scope of the resources the contracting authority has available. In other words, this proportionality assessment is related specifically to the individual acquisition, and it can turn different ly out for different clients. The assessment of whether the requirements will constitute a disproportionate burden will be subject to the client’s free discretion. The Directive has not yet been adopted and is therefore not yet binding on the interpretation of the Norwegian regulations. However, the Ministry believes that it is reasonable to interpret a principle of proportion as described above in the exemption provision as early as today.
For more on universal design, see Difi’s guide with further links at www.anskaffelser.no.
26.2.3 Allocation on the basis of the best ratio of price or cost and quality
188.8.131.52 Best ratio between price or cost and quality
The client can use the award criterion best ratio between price or cost and quality. The alternative is essentially a continuation of the previous criterion of the “economically most advantageous offer”. The provision indicates a comparison between price or cost on one side and a qualitative, non-financial assessment on the other. The Client shall find the winning offer by setting financial and qualitative criteria. The provision specifies the following examples of qualitative criteria: quality, including technical, aesthetic and functional characteristics, accessibility, universal design and environmental, social and innovative characteristics offered to staffing organisation, qualifications and experiences, provided that the quality of staffing is of great importance for the performance of the contract customer service, technical assistance and conditions of delivery, such as delivery method and time of delivery or completion.”