Adam Turner

Accessibility Across UK Local Authorities

Accessibility Public sector


The 23 September 2019 was the day that all UK Public Sector Bodies needed to publish accessibility statements for all of their new websites which must now meet WCAG 2.1 Levels AA conformance. 

Public Sector Bodies are legally responsible for their website meeting accessibility requirements, even if they have outsourced their website to a supplier. More than that they have a social and moral responsibility to make sure that everyone can access their content. More information about the new regulations can be found from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sample-accessible-document-policy.

It is important to note that Levels A and AA tests have to be met independently.

Sitemorse, in collaboration with Socitm, are publishing a State of the Nation report that assesses the progress that UK Local Authorities are making to ensure that their websites are accessible.  

Each quarter Sitemorse assesses the main websites of over 400 Local Authorities for adherence to WCAG 2.1.

The report will cover the main website of each authority however, the law applies to all websites operated, directly or on behalf of the authority. 

To help improve compliance levels to the EU Directive, we have launching a new 3-month service for UK Local Authorities. The service allows the local authority to assess and benchmark all of its sites for compliance to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines for website accessibility.

More details on the service will be released next week along with the State of the Nation report.

Notes to Editors: 

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.

The Directive lists three 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

About Sitemorse Sitemorse.com

Sitemorse is a UK-registered company and is 100% privately owned, with no external investors. The only shareholders are staff. There is no bank borrowing, overdraft or external funding. Although UK based, we have clients around the world.

We built, and own, the software and are not answerable to any venture capital firm or similar, in terms of the operation and management of the company. The founders of the business remain part and parcel of the running of the company, today – and it is probably the first company to bring automation to the digital governance market (with our first services running nearly 15 years ago and our oldest current client joining us 13 years ago).

Sitemorse owns its own Intellectual Property (IP), has no reliance on third-party licensed products or services, and all development and investment costs are fully paid. Against the Sitemorse Service Level Agreement, the company has achieved 99.82% uptime against a target of 99.7% over the last 10 years.

Sitemorse provides content QA & digital governance software, along with being the first to introduce Data Science and Machine intelligence capabilities.

About Socitm socitm.net

We are the society for innovation, technology and modernisation.

Our vision is to be the preferred network for professionals who are shaping and delivering public services.

Our members benefit from being part of a growing community where collaboration is key. We bring people together to share experiences and best practice while learning from each other to the benefit of the public sector as a whole. Established for over 30 years, we continue to challenge convention, inspire change and power progress.

Focus

Our focus is on how digital strategy and innovation impacts positively on the lives of service users. We believe that the most positive outcomes can only be achieved through sharing excellence, collaboration and discussion. 

Mission

  • Help maximise the effectiveness of ICT and digital in delivering services for public benefit.
  • Help members to develop professionally and to deliver their organisation’s ICT and digitally-enabled transformation objectives.
  • Help public service organisations and citizens get maximum value from ICT and digital services

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.