European directive on accessibility regulations – next steps

The European directive on web accessibility for all UK public sector websites became law on 23rd September 2018, This covers everyone from central Government all the way down to local authorities and parish councils. 

With a continued squeeze on budgets anyone with responsibility for a website will need to start planning now to find resources and support to European directive on accessibility regulations – next stepsmeet these guidelines, GDS have published blogs and throughout the summer hosted a series of workshops which we have attended to look at the impact and issues facing those responsible for ensuring they comply with the new law on accessibility.

The new EU directive is making many public bodies re-access how they approach web accessibility. It’s always been important, but often lack of knowledge, budget restrictions have all meant that public bodies have done what they can, but not necessarily enough to comply with the new EU accessibility directive that was passed on 23rd September 2018.

As a general rule websites belonging to Government organisations fall into three categories:

  • Providing information
  • Submit a form
  • Pay for services

They are a point of reference for members of the public to streamline processes for organisations who rely on public funding, and thus must be as streamlined and efficient as possible.

This also helps members of the public who can find out information at a time that suits them, speeds things up as they don’t need to wait for a form to come through the post and they can pay for a service like bin collections, rent, council tax without going into an office or phoning to make a payment.

For people with disabilities, who may find it harder to get to an office, or through hearing loss not be able to pay over the phone these services actually increase their level of self sufficiency providing those services are built in an accessible way.

Not only is it important for all the reasons discussed for websites to be accessible it is now the law, and with a series of dates for when public bodies must have their content accessible it is easy to become overwhelmed with how to approach this.

Poster listing key dates for EU directive 2016/2102 23rd September 2018 EU directive becomes law 23rd September 2019 All new websites, after 23/8/2018 must be accessible 23rd September 2020 websites older than 23/8/18 must be accessible 23rd September 2021 All apps must be accessible

Knowing where to turn for advice is one of the biggest factors – although if you are reading this blog you’ve overcome that step – Dig Inclusion can advise you!

The other factor big factor is budget, yes there’s all the other details like what to do and when, what other internal projects and commitments all factor into what you should do and when – budget dictates much of this so we’ve put together some next steps and services to help you plan.

We have a page dedicated to services for those responsible for a public body website.

We don’t think this is an easy journey for anyone, if it was – everything would already be accessible. As such we’d love to talk to you about the best approach for you.