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Adam Turner

Website Accessibility Progress in UK Public Sector

Index Accessibility Public sector


Summary

Local Government is clearly leading the way in making their websites accessible – 9 of the top 10 scoring websites over the last 12 months have been those within Local Government.

Across the UK Public Sector, 9% of websites are making good progress, scoring 7 or more (out of 10) for accessibility, 41% score 5 or 6 leaving 50% scoring less than 5. Looking at the individual web pages, we found that 7% pass the WCAG 2.1 Level A tests. The situation with the Level AA tests is better, with 70% pages passing.

Making PDFs accessible is a major concern for many organisations, across the UK Public Sector; 17% of PDFs passed the WCAG accessibility checks.

The only organisation to have achieved a score of 10 for website accessibility was Harrogate Borough Council. 23 organisations, all within Local Government, achieved a score of 9 with 38 organisations scoring 8. 

Rules

The EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps *(Directive (EU) 2016/2102 using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04)), 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.

We recently produced a summary of the regulations, which you can access from https://sitemorse.com/blog-article/9778/the_digital_first_agenda_and_the_law/

The Directive lists 3 dates for compliance to be achieved:

  • 22 September 2019 - New public sector websites (those published after 22 September 2018)
  • 22 September 2020 - All other public sector websites
  • 22 June 2021 - Public sector mobile apps

With 22 September 2020 fast approaching we have taken a look at the progress being made by UK Public Sector Websites. 

Accessibility Accelerator

Sitemorse has announced the Accessibility Accelerator – a cost-effective, proven solution to deliver accessibility compliance. This fixed price service follows a 3-step approach: Benchmarking, Prioritisation & Action, which has been tried and tested by our clients.

The service includes private online workshops, monthly audits and unlimited Sitemorse usage. For more details contact: sales@Sitemorse.com 

Overall Results – broken down by sector

We analysed the 2020 Q2 results across 4 Sitemorse INDEXs; all of the published INDEXs can be viewed at https://sitemorse.com/index/.

Local Government accounts for 80% of the websites that are in a good position – those achieving a score of 7 or above. This further demonstrates local government’s lead across the public sector with making their websites accessible.

A summary report of the findings can be downloaded from Accessibility - UK Public Sector Websites

UK Local Government

Local Authorities have been working hard to make their websites accessible 62 improving their score since Q1. 17% of websites achieved a score of 7 or more, 34% of websites scored 5 or 6 leaving 49% scoring less than 5.

Looking at the WCAG Level A and Level AA tests, 14% of webpages passed Level A and 81% passed Level AA – Harrogate Borough Council was the only website to have 100% of pages pass the Level A and Level AA tests.

The full 2020 Q2 INDEX results for UK Local Government can be found at Sitemorse UK Local Government INDEX

Government & Public Bodies

Government and Public Bodies still have work to do to be compliant by the September deadline. 4% of these organisation’s websites scored 7 or better (out of 10) with 62% scoring 4 or less.

The highest score, of 8, was achieved by 3 organisations: Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, Natural Resources Wales and NHS Digital.

Looking at the WCAG Level A and Level AA tests, 3% of webpages passed Level A with 62% passing Level AA.

The full 2020 Q2 INDEX results for Government & Public Bodies can be found at Sitemorse UK Government and Public Bodies INDEX

UK & IE Universities

UK & IE Universities still have a lot of work to do to be compliant by the September deadline, especially with many universities looking to deliver their courses online at the start of the academic year.

2% of university websites scored 7 or better (out of 10) with 67% scoring 4 or less. The highest score of 8, was achieved by 2 universities: The University of Manchester and University of Derby.

Looking at the WCAG Level A and Level AA tests, 3% of webpages passed Level A with 60% passing Level AA.

The full 2020 Q2 INDEX results for UK & IE Universities can be found at Sitemorse UK & IE Universities INDEX

UK Police Forces

1 website scored 7 or better (out of 10). However, with 37% scoring 4 or less it shows that most are at least making some progress. The highest score, of 7, was achieved by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Looking at the WCAG Level A and Level AA tests, 2% of webpages passed Level A with 76% passing Level AA.

The full 2020 Q2 INDEX results for UK Police Forces can be found at Sitemorse UK Police Forces INDEX

Conclusion

Local Government is leading in the task to make their websites accessible, in compliance with 22 September 2020 deadline. There is still a lot of work to be done with 91% of websites across the UK Public Sector not achieving a score of 7 or more.

Training

Automatic delivery - Just-in-time

Direct ‘just-in-time’ training materials are offered against actions, delivering immediate understanding and confidence in actioning. These videos provide help prevent the same issues being repeated.