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On September 23rd, new regulations came into force for the public sector, meaning that from next year, every website and app developed for/by public sector organisations will need to meet accessibility standards.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 aims to ensure public sector websites and apps are accessible to all, but particularly for those with learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, impaired vision, motor difficulties and hearing impairments.

The regulations state that all public sector websites and apps must be “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust”. This is primarily achieved by meeting WCAG 2.1 AA standards.

Public sector organisations must also publish a statement to show that they meet the requirements, with a hard deadline of September 2020 for websites, and June 2021 for apps.

What you need to do

In order to meet the requirements, you must:

• Publish an accessibility statement on your website or within your app

• If requested, provide an accessible alternative within a reasonable timeframe for content that doesn’t meet accessibility standards

 

The statement should:

• Be published in a fully accessible form

• List any content that doesn’t meet accessibility standards

• Highlight alternatives to content that’s not currently accessible

• Provide information on the enforcement procedure if users are not happy with the response given

• Provide contact details for those wishing to report issues

 

You will need to publish an accessibility statement for your website or app by:

• September 23rd 2019 for websites created from September 23rd 2018

• September 23rd 2020 for existing websites

• June 23rd 2021 for mobile apps

 

Your statement should be seen as a living document that is updated with your website or app.

For websites, the statement should be published as a HTML page, linked to from a prominent place, like your menu navigation or footer.

For apps, the statement should be available in an accessible format and found in a prominent place within the app, with the option to download.

Establishing a plan to meet accessibility standards

If accessibility is something you’ve yet to consider for your website, you’ll need to identify the parts of your website or app that need addressing.

Common issues include websites that can’t be navigated using a keyboard, inaccessible forms, images that are missing ALT tags and poor colour contrast that makes text difficult to read.

We offer a range of accessibility-related services, including Accessibility Audits and support and guidance for development projects.

We have extensive experience designing and building platforms to global accessibility standards, and have worked with several public sector organisations on websites and apps where accessibility has been critical to outcomes.

Our audits provide page-by-page analysis, outlining areas that require your immediate attention and providing examples on how to make your platform fully compliant. Our feedback is balanced, honest and solution-oriented.

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

If you require an Accessibility Audit or need help preparing an accessibility statement for your website or app, send an email to info@connectisl.com, or call us on 0151 282 4321.

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