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Adam Turner

Q1 2020 INDEX - UK Central Government Websites, what's happening with Accessibility?

Index Accessibility


At Sitemorse we published our 2020 Q1 UK Central Government INDEX this week. The INDEX has been published quarterly since 2006 and ranks the websites of nearly 200 UK Central Government organisations, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Our Q1 2020 INDEX was compiled following over 140 million tests, checks and measures across over 440,000 URLs.

Congratulations to the Student Loans Company for retaining first place and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control for being the most improved.

Overall, 26 organisations improved the Accessibility of their website, whilst 12 have seen it decline and 154 have made no progress.

No organisations passed the WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA tests on 100% of their web pages. Indeed, there are 2 organisations that fail the level A and AA tests on every page.

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. It 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 this year, all other public sector websites need to be compliant by 22 September 2020.

If we focus on accessibility, only Office for Nuclear Regulation and Natural Resources Wales scored 7 or above (out of 10). As for the rest of the organisations:

  • 38% of organisations scored 5 or 6 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 32% of organisations scored between 1 and 4 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 29% of organisations scored zero for accessibility

Office for Nuclear Regulation and Natural Resources Wales should be congratulated for taking the lead in this sector on Accessibility.

An honourable mention should be made to Utility Regulator - Northern Ireland who have increased their accessibility score by 6 points – well done!

Top ten websites

  1. Student Loans Company
  2. Research for Development Outputs
  3. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  4. The Adjudicator's Office
  5. Health and Safety Executive
  6. Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs NI
  7. Utility Regulator - Northern Ireland
  8. Security Service (MI5)
  9. Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
  10. Office for Nuclear Regulation

Five Most improved websites

  • National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
  • Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
  • British Museum
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Chemicals Regulation Directorate

The full 2020 Q1 UK Central Government results can be found here: Sitemorse UK Central Government INDEX

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