New accessibility rules for public sector websites
New accessibility regulations have come into force setting a legal duty for public sector bodies to make their websites accessible.
From Monday 23 September 2019, public sector websites launched on or after 23 September 2018 must meet accessibility standards. This includes publishing accessibility statements, explaining how accessible their websites are.
The deadline for public sector organisations to make all existing websites accessible is 23 September 2020, and the compliance date for mobile applications is 23 June 2021.
Around a third of disabled people in the UK experience difficulties in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services. The aim of the legislation is to help make sure online public services are accessible to all users, including people with disabilities.
The Minister for Implementation, Simon Hart said: "This is another positive step in our longstanding commitment to ensuring digital services are accessible for all users and to encourage improved equality of access to public information and services. Although directly impacting the public sector, the regulations provide a necessary reminder for all organisations to consider the needs of all users when building online services."
This builds on the existing legal obligations of all UK service providers to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 and Northern Ireland’s Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) will monitor public sector websites and apps on their accessibility from 2020.