To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we are launching an Accessibility Index of the UK public health sector, providing a review of accessibility compliance in the field with the objective of spotlighting high performers and best practices among NHS websites.
The Sitemorse NHS70 Accessibility Index will review over 600 NHS sites, across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales, and will score and rank them based on accessibility compliance.
The NHS requires NHS Digital digital applications and services to meet a minimum standard of WCAG 2.0 Level AA. Given this, we feel that it is important to help NHS organisations to understand the current state of play regarding accessibility – especially as many don’t know where they stand. The Accessibility Index will provide NHS site managers and editors with a clear understanding of how well they are doing and how close they are to accessibility compliance. The Accessibility Index will also flag the kind of issues that need to be addressed in order to improve performance.
This will become even more important with the EU public sector accessibility directive (European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04)) coming into force in September. The directive calls for sites to be “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust” (following the WCAG 2.0 AA rating terminology) and requires public sector bodies to demonstrate that they are compliant, to resolve issues and to track their compliance.
Our CEO, Lawrence Shaw, said: “The NHS is a British national treasure and it’s fantastic to be celebrating the institution’s 70th anniversary. At Sitemorse, we help clients like NHS Digital to achieve digital compliance and to meet legal accessibility requirements through automated assessment. Accessibility compliance benefits all users, but in healthcare it is of critical importance to ensure that all individuals can access the services on offer.
“Digital managers often fear that improving accessibility compliance will be an excessively onerous task, but we aim to make it simple. Our prioritised reporting identifies the most urgent issues so major changes can be made fast – and without the chore of dealing with endless reporting.
“We’re proud to help the NHS to deliver – and we’re excited to recognise the organisations that are leading the way for accessibility compliance in the UK public health sector.”
The benchmark will run in the second half of July 2018, with the results to be announced soon after.
To get the Sitemorse NHS70 Accessibility Index results, visit www.sitemorse.com/nhs70.
Note as to compliance requirement
Accessible Information Standard "From 1st August 2016 onwards, all organisations that provide NHS care and/or publicly-funded adult social care are legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard."
Accessible Information: Specification v.1.1 "The accessibility of health and social care websites is out of scope of the Accessible Information Standard. However, the Standard remains relevant in circumstances where a health or social care professional would usually refer a patient or service user (or their carer or parent) to a website for information."
Accessible Information: Implementation Guidance v1.1 (p78) "Organisations should also refer to accessibility guidance set out in the Government Service Manual and be aware that the minimum standard for NHS Digital digital application or services is Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0."
Sitemorse (www.sitemorse.com) helps organisations drive improved user experience, ensuring that content is always optimised and compliance requirements are always met. The London-based, privately-owned, company has now been leading the field of Digital Governance for over 15 years.