Councils and other public organisations are funded by taxpayers’ money, and because of this, the public sector is often the industry which takes web accessibility most seriously.
As accessibility advocates, we are proud to have worked with several local authorities to improve their offering to disabled people, as well as ensuring every website we create meets the WCAG standards.
Public Sector Accessibility Legislation
In September 2017, an EU Directive came in which states all public-sector bodies must have accessible digital services by 2020 – You can read more about the deadlines in place for public sector accessibility in our blog. The Directive is now being transferred into UK law from September 2018 and will come into effect in its first phase in 2019 – you can read more about the directive on the government website.
The legislation means that all public-sector organisations will need to make sure that their digital services and online information are accessible for disabled people. What does accessible mean? Being accessible is being inclusive, this includes but is not limited to people with disabilities and additional needs. People using screen readers or other assistive technology to browse the internet or use other digital application.
Government Digital Services (GDS) guidance on accessibility legislation
The new law will be an interpretation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that have been developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, which details what is and what isn’t accessible. As part of the legislation, public sector bodies will be required to produce an accessibility statement outlining the elements of their website that are accessible, identifying which parts aren’t, detailing what steps they are taking to improve things. This document will need to be updated every year, the Government Digital Service (GDS) have provided guidance: Public Sector website accessibility statements – what you need to know.
If you’re interested in knowing more, we have created a short (captioned) video, outlining the new public sector legislation.