Q4 2021 UK Government and Public Bodies INDEX Published

20 Dec 2021 | Index | Accessibility | Public sector

Adam Turner
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We published the original INDEX of UK Government and Public Bodies’ websites in January 2006, over 15 years ago. The INDEX is now published quarterly and ranks Government and Public Bodies’ websites for digital compliance, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

This week we have published the results from our 2021 Q4 Government and Public Bodies INDEX to see progress being made and which organisations are complying with the law.

The accessibility regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018 and state that public sector websites must be more accessible by making them ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’. Websites also need to include an accessibility statement, which should be kept up to date.

The full name of the accessibility regulations is the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. 

The accessibility regulations build on existing obligations to people who have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland). These say that all UK service providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people.

The Q4 2021 INDEX ranks the websites of nearly 300 Government and Public Bodies following over 200 million tests, checks and measures across over 621,000 URLs.

Congratulations to the Geffrye Museum for achieving first place and to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland for being the most improved, rising a very impressive 214 places up the table.

Since Q1 2021, 88 organisations have improved the accessibility of their website, whilst 34 have seen it decline.

No organisations passed the WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA tests on 100% of their web pages and 9 organisations failed the level A and AA tests on every page.

Indeed 92% of web pages failed the level A tests and 34% failed the level AA tests. More than 2,300 PDFs were accessed with only 24% passing all of our 28 WCAG accessibility tests.

European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04), was approved on October 26, 2016 and came into force for in the UK on 23 September 2018. The aim of the regulations is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible.

This includes those with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

New public sector websites have needed to be compliant since 22 September 2019, all other public sector websites needed to be compliant by 22 September 2020.

If we focus on accessibility, 3 organisations scored 9 (out of 10) for accessibility - they should all be congratulated for taking the lead in this sector on accessibility. The 3 organisations were:

  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • Office for Nuclear Regulation
  • Welsh Government

As for the rest of the organisations in the INDEX:

  • 11% of organisations achieved a score of 7 or more (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 39% of organisations scored 5 or 6 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 25% of organisations actually scored zero for accessibility

In the event of 2 organisations being tied then the organisation who scored higher in the previous quarter’s INDEX is ranked higher.

Top ten websites

  1. Geffrye Museum
  2. Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Northern Ireland)
  3. Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise
  4. Historic England
  5. Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs
  6. Security Industry Authority
  7. Ofgem
  8. National Heritage Memorial Fund
  9. National Museums Liverpool
  10. Office for Nuclear Regulation

Five Most improved websites

  • Water Industry Commission for Scotland
  • Ofgem
  • Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • HM Inspectorate of Prisons

The full UK Government and Public Bodies Q4 2021 results can be found here: Sitemorse UK Government and Public Bodies INDEX