Why the Sitemorse INDEX now excludes public sector sites scoring zero for accessibility

06 Nov 2018

Qtr. 4 | 2018 - UK Public Sector Exclusions 

Accessibility compliance is becoming ever more important for websites and that’s especially true in the public sector. To reflect this, we are changing the way that public sector sites are ranked in the Sitemorse INDEX. This will mean that sites scoring zero (out of ten) for accessibility will be excluded from the INDEX as being unsuitable for ranking, regardless of their performance in other areas.

Delivering accessibility to a high standard is a critical part of achieving compliance today, and is key to ensuring that organisations serve, and reach, all stakeholders. There is also a close correlation between observing accessibility standards and delivering a good user experience (UX) overall – so accessibility compliance has the potential to significantly benefit both users and providers.

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)), was implemented in September, and will require all new public sector websites to follow agreed accessibility standards by 23 September 2019 (with legacy sites to follow in September 2020 and apps in June 2021). The directive requires public sector bodies to demonstrate that they are compliant; to resolve issues (or explain why this is not possible and provide alternatives); and to monitor their compliance over time.

Because of this, there is no excuse for poor standards. While organisations may be simply unaware that they are failing (perhaps because they are only using manual assessment), the community as a whole must push for change and the need for all parties to meet their responsibilities.

Each quarter, the Sitemorse INDEX completes many tests, checks and measures across each site. he assessments provides the basis to score each site for search engine optimisation, user experience and governance risk and compliance. This provides an independent, objective view of digital compliance across market verticals so digital managers can assess their own performance and compare it to other organisations in their sector.

Sites that scored zero for accessibility in the UK Universities and Higher Education INDEX, and will hence be excluded from the rankings, are:

  1. Sparsholt College Hampshire
  2. University for the Creative Arts
  3. Manchester School of Architecture
  4. The School of Pharmacy (University of London)
  5. Bexley College
  6. South Downs College
  7. University of Chester
  8. The Academy of Contemporary Music
  9. University College London (University of London)
  10. Cleveland College of Art and Design
  11. Kingston University
  12. Swindon College
  13. Islamic College for Advanced Studies
  14. Wigan and Leigh College
  15. London South East Colleges
  16. Edinburgh Napier University
  17. Coventry College
  18. Tyne Metropolitan College
  19. Farnborough College of Technology
  20. Dearne Valley College
  21. SAE Institute
  22. FutureLearn
  23. Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln

Sites that scored zero for accessibility in the UK Local Government INDEX, and will hence be excluded from the rankings, are:

  1. Hyndburn Borough Council
  2. Erewash Borough Council
  3. Lancashire County Council
  4. Chorley
  5. South Cambridgeshire District Council
  6. Carlisle City Council
  7. Wandsworth Council
  8. Powys County Council
  9. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Sites that scored zero for accessibility in the UK Central Government INDEX, and will hence be excluded from the rankings, are:

  1. Victoria and Albert Museum
  2. Wallace Collection
  3. Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office
  4. Business Gateway
  5. Youth Justice NI
  6. Higher Education Funding Council for England
  7. UK Hydrographic Office
  8. Plaid Cymru
  9. Labour Party
  10. National Museums Liverpool
  11. The Adjudicator's Office
  12. The Parades Commission
  13. LEASE (The Leasehold Advisory Service)
  14. Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure NI

Sites that scored zero for accessibility in the UK Police Forces INDEX, and will hence be excluded from the rankings, are:

  1. Cleveland Police
  2. West Midlands Police
  3. Ask The Police
  4. North Yorkshire Police