Accessibility legislation

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Who should read this page

This is technical guidance aimed at IT, digital services, business analysts and procurement services.

Us and the law

New regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018. They state the council must make our website and mobile apps more accessible by making them ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’.

These new regulations build on our existing obligations to people who have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 which state we must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people. For example, such ‘adjustments’ may be somebody might ask for information in an alternative, accessible format, like large print or an audio recording.

GOV.UK has some interesting advice on providing alternative formats

Citizen’s Advice talk more about what makes something a ‘reasonable’ adjustment

What we need to do

Any new website or app will meet the newer legal requirements if we:

The best way of doing this is:

  • Check our website and apps for accessibility problems.
  • Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems we find, within reason.
  • Publish our accessibility statement.
  • Make sure new features are accessible.

Whilst the digital services team will work with you to achieve accessibility compliance, you can read the full guidance on the GOV.UK website.

Compliance criteria

Our websites and apps will need to comply with the international WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard. In some situations we may not need to fully meet this standard for all of, or parts, of our websites if making the changes would cause what the new legal requirements call a ‘disproportionate burden’.

What counts as disproportionate burden…

If a website or app is to be considered a disproportionate burden, we will need to carry out an assessment considering things which are relevant, including:

  • the benefits to users with disabilities of meeting the standards
  • the cost of meeting the standards
  • how it’s used by disabled people - how often and for how long
  • our organisation’s size and resources

We cannot take into account the lack of time or knowledge.

Read more about ‘disproportionate burdens’ and other exemptions on the GOV.UK website.

Please contact the digital services team for more information.

Accessibility statements

The council needs to publish an accessibility statement on all our websites which must say:

  • which parts of our service do not meet accessibility standards and why
  • how people with access needs can get alternatives to content that’s not accessible
  • how to contact us to report accessibility problems - and a link (to be confirmed) to the government website that they can use if they’re not happy with your response

For websites, publish the statement as an html page, linked to from a prominent place like the website footer.

For mobile apps, make the statement available where users can download the app.

Deadlines for compliance

The deadlines for meeting the AA standard and producing an accessibility statement are:

  • New websites (published on or after 23 September 2018) - 23 September 2019
  • Existing websites - 23 September 2020
  • Apps - 23 June 2021

What next

Digital services will be working with ICT to manage the council's accessibility responsibility.

More information will be posted here when available.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about how we can help, please contact the digital services team.

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