The EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications will be brought into UK law this year. The Directive means public sector websites and apps must be made more accessible, except in cases where to do this would be disproportionate.
The Government intends to implement the new rules in UK law by passing regulations. These will put new duties on public sector bodies to make their websites and apps accessible. They are consulting on this issue until May 28 and are seeking views on:
What public sector bodies need to do to comply with the new rules.
How the rules should be monitored and enforced.
The draft regulations that will bring the Directive into UK law.
We want as many people as possible to respond to the consultation, to send a strong message that the Directive could have a significant impact on how blind and partially sighted people access and use public sector services.
If you’re planning on writing an individual response you may want to include some of the following concerns that we will be raising in our organisational response:
The consultation window has been too short, at about a month. We’d expect a consultation period of about 3 months for such an important issue.
We don’t believe an internal department such as the Government Digital Service, should be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the Directive.
The consultation documents don’t include any information about who and how the Directive is going to be enforced.
The exemptions from the Directive are too broad. Public service broadcasters, schools and nurseries aren’t covered by the Directive. Neither is certain types of content such as intranets, documents and content from a third party.
The consultation makes no reference to the overlap of the Directive with the Equality Act, and that public sector websites and apps are also covered by this legislation.
We’re worried that the current proposals could provide a loop-hole for public sector organisations to publish more non-accessible content online.
Read our full briefing which explains why these concerns are important:
Find out what we're doing on our accessible information campaign. We campaign to ensure that people with sight loss receive information in a format they can read from their service providers and public authorities.