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What are the Public Sector Accessibility Regulations?

On 23rd September 2018, Public Sector Accessibility Regulations came into force.

As a result, every website or app developed for, or by, public sector organisations must meet WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement on their website.

Public sector websites launched on or after 23rd September 2018 should have been compliant by 23rd September 2019. Public sector websites launched before 23rd September 2018 must be compliant by 23rd September 2020. All public sector-led apps must meet the regulations by 23rd June 2021.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility means more than making content available online. It means ensuring your website’s design is clear and logical, so that every user can access it without needing to adapt it.

The regulations state that all public sector websites should be “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust”, particularly for those with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and impaired hearing.

Accessible websites are better for everyone: they provide a stronger user experience, are easier to use and often appear higher on search engines.

A recent study by Socitm found that most public sector websites do not currently meet accessibility standards. Common issues include websites that can’t be navigated using a keyboard, inaccessible PDFs that can’t be read by screen readers, images that are missing ALT tags and poor colour contrast that makes text difficult to read.

How can you make sure your website complies?

  1. Your website will meet requirements if it complies with the international WCAG 2.1 Level AA standard.
  2. You must publish an accessibility statement on your website to show that you meet requirements. Your compliance date could be as soon as September 23rd 2019, depending on when your website was launched.
  3. If requested, provide an accessible alternative for content that doesn’t meet accessibility standards.

Arrange an Accessibility Audit for your website

If testing the accessibility level of your website is on your roadmap, but you’ve yet to get around to it, we can help.

Our Accessibility Audits provide a critical evaluation of how well a website supports diverse user needs, outlining areas that require your attention and providing examples of how to ensure your platform is fully compliant.

We audit against a range of industry standards, including WCAG 2.1 Level AA, using clear checkpoints and a combination of automated and manual testing.

You will receive a comprehensive audit report that documents any issues found, along with recommendations from our accessibility team on how to resolve, so that you can action changes based on priority in order to improve your customer experience.

We understand that public sector project schedules are often predetermined, so we’ll work with you to establish a realistic delivery plan for your audit.

 

If you would like Connect to perform an Accessibility Audit on your website, please contact Tom Hessom on 0151 282 4321, or email info@connectinternetsolutions.com.

 

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