https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2018/04/30/consultation-launch-accessibility-of-public-sector-websites-and-apps/

Consultation launch: accessibility of public sector websites and apps

A poster showing advice for designing for screen reader users.
A poster showing advice for designing for screen reader users. The posters are available to download.

This year the UK is implementing the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps ("the Directive"). To gather your views, we’ve launched a consultation to help plan how we implement the Directive.

What is the Directive about?

The Directive requires public sector bodies to make their websites and mobile apps more accessible by making them "perceivable, operable, understandable and robust", to the extent that doing so would not impose a disproportionate burden. This means following a set of principles and techniques when building, designing, maintaining and updating websites and apps to ensure people can use them, especially people with disabilities.

Public sector bodies will need to evaluate the accessibility of their websites and mobile applications. They will then be expected to fix any issues and provide detail of this in an accessibility statement hosted on their website. If there are areas of inaccessible content, the organisation responsible will have to explain the way in which the content is not accessible and the reason for it. They will also have to provide accessible alternatives where appropriate.

There are some exceptions to this. For example, public service broadcasters and some types of published content are exempt, such as online maps and pre-recorded videos published before September 2020.The full list is in the consultation document.

The obligation to make websites and mobile apps more accessible will apply to websites and mobile applications in different stages, over the next 3 years. But by 2021, all public sector websites and mobile apps will need to comply with the Directive.

What is the consultation?

The consultation concerns the UK government’s plan to implement the Directive including draft regulations. It includes what guidance and what training the government will provide to public sector bodies to help meet the accessibility criteria.

We would also like to hear from public sector bodies on how they will comply with the Directive and their thoughts on GDS’s proposed monitoring plan for the Directive’s implementation.

Who is the consultation for?

Everyone! We would welcome responses from the charity sector, the private sector and public authorities, professional bodies, interest groups and the wider public, especially people with disabilities.

Why are we implementing this Directive?

You might wonder why we are implementing the Directive as we are preparing to exit the European Union (EU) next year. The reason is simple: until the UK leaves the EU, all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The Directive is also in line with the government’s current policy on accessibility.

In the transition period, the government will continue to implement and apply EU legislation. In line with this policy, the government will implement the Directive in accordance with our EU law obligations.

Next steps

The consultation will run for 4 weeks from 30 April to 28 May.

If you would like to respond, please follow this link to the consultation page.

If you prefer to submit your response via email, you can send it to:
consultation-responses@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can send your response by post to:

Accessibility team
7th Floor, The White Chapel Building
10 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 8QS

Please indicate in your response whether you’re happy for it to be published, and whether or not you want it to be attributed to you or the organisation you represent.

We look forward to reading your responses!