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Dan Champion and I remain unhappy with the Department of Trade and Industry’s answers to why they spent a quarter of a million pounds on a Clarkian failed redesign.
Our unhappiness is due to their wasting public money on a site that does not meet the level of accessibility required in their own spec, and the fact that the DTI have said that
“if further changes are to be made to the website the cost will be met by DTI”, so presumably, Fresh01 (the suppliers) will not be required to put their mistakes right at their own expense (if indeed, the DTI’s answers show that it’s the supplier’s fault).
We want to know why this shoddy procurement, development and supplier monitoring happened, and what will be done to prevent it reoccurring. Therefore, we’ve sent further questions to the DTI as a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Did the DTI take legal advice on what level of WCAG conformance constituted compliance with the DDA? If yes, please provide a copy of the advice received.
- If no legal advice was taken, what was the rationale behind specifiying WCAG level AA conformance in the original specification?
- Please provide a full copy of the document referred to in the response to my previous enquiry – ‘Invitation to Tender for rebuild of the website, brief for customer research, design & information architecture, and usability testing phases’.
- Tendering: was the decision to award the contracts made on price alone? Please provide copies of all DTI reports/investigations during the tendering phase of all shortlisted suppliers’ ability to deliver an accessible website conforming to WCAG level AA. Please list the qualifications and experience of commissioning accessible websites of those who picked the successful suppliers.
- What provisions existed in the contract for a contractor failing to adequately satisfy the deliverables specified in the requirements document?
- How did the DTI monitor deliverables against the specified requirement of WCAG level AA, and the validity of the code? How regularly were these checked during the project? What processes were followed by the DTI to assess the completed website against the deliverables in the requirements document?
- At which point in the project did the DTI drop the requirement for AA conformance? Please provide documentation on why this decision was taken, and whether legal advice was taken.
- The Usability Company (now Foviance) claim to have been employed as the accessibility and usability agency for the redevelopment of the DTI website (www.theusabilitycompany.com/news/newsletter/dti.html [Link co-incidentally broken; Google cache]). What was this company’s precise role in the project, what was the value of the work they carried out, was this included in the costs of £175,000 quoted in the response to my original enquiry, and why was the company not mentioned in the response to my original enquiry?
- Are Fresh01, Fujitsu, The Usability Company (Foviance) or Percussion still on any list of the DTI’s preferrred suppliers?
- Has the DTI amended its processes for procuring web design work since Fresh01 were commissioned? Is there an organisational requirement to use PAS78 as the basis for any future commissioning work?
- What action is being taken to address the deficiencies of the new DTI website? Who will bear the financial burden of this remedial work, and what is the estimated value of the work?
When the reponse comes in, we’ll publish it here, along with any reply from Fresh01, who are cordially invited to respond.