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Consultation on Web Accessibility

Consultation on Web Accessibility

12th May 2018

An overlooked consequence of the Brexit process has been the uncertainty over new EU Directives. We reported before on the European Accessibility Act, which the UK is helping to shape, even as we have yet to commit to implementing a UK version. In contrast, the government will definitely adopt the EU Web Accessibility Directive, since we'll still be a member state in September when the deadline for implementing the law comes due. The Directive requires public sector bodies, such as local authorities and the NHS, to ensure their websites and apps are accessible. The Cabinet Office has opened a consultation on the topic. 

Among the key issues at stake are:

  • Scope: which organisations count as 'public sector', and which public bodies will receive an exemption on the grounds of undue burden?
  • Training and advice: what will be the government's strategy to help the public sector meet the new requirements?
  • Monitoring: how will the government measure the success of the public sector as a whole in complying with the regulations?
  • Reporting: once the UK leaves the EU, we will no longer have to report to the European Commission on our implementation of the Directive; will the government then report to parliament instead? 
  • Enforcement: the government has proposed that the regulations be enforced by the same mechanism as the public sector equality duty; is this the right way to enforce the regulations or should we have a digital accessibility ombudsperson?    

The APPGAT will submit a joint response to the consultation and then begin further work on the topic, including the publication of a report into the implications of the directive for the education sector.