On 23 September 2018 the government passed new accessibility regulations, the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018, which may apply to your public facing websites.
The government will start monitoring compliance with these regulations in 2020. More information on this will be available on GOV.UK shortly.
Why these regulations were introduced
The new regulations were introduced will ensure all public-facing websites and mobile applications (such as smart phone and tablet apps) are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.
What does this mean for you
Schools and early years’ providers have been granted an exemption from the regulations, for everything except ‘essential administrative activities offered online’ – for example, a form that lets you outline school meal preferences.
For those activities, websites and mobile apps must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.1AA) standard by the following timescales:
If your website or app was published:
- after 23 September 2018 you must be compliant by 23 September 2019
- before 23 September 2018 you must be compliant by 23 September 2020
All mobile applications must meet WCAG2.1AA standards by 23 June 2021.
An accessibility statement must also be published and include details of any content that does not meet the accessibility standard WCAG2.11A. The Government Digital Service (GDS) have published a sample accessibility statement.
You must provide an accessible alternative for any content that does not meet the standards within a reasonable time frame.
- Introduction to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.1AA) (full explanation of all principles and requirements)
- GDS accessibility guidance
- The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018