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GDS to publish model statement on website accessibility


The Government Digital Service (GDS) is working on a model accessibility statement for public sector website owners.

It is part of the effort to support public authorities in meeting the accessibility regulation for websites and apps that is due to come into force in September of next year.

A blogpost by Anthony Ilona, policy engagement manager at GDS, says the model statement has been tested with users to ensure it is clearly understood and meets user needs, and that template will be published on GOV.UK in the new year.

He also urges public sector bodies to begin testing their websites for user accessibility soon to have the information required to complete an accessibility statement.

The statement, which will need to be updated annually, will be one of the prime requirements of the new regulation. It should include lists of any inaccessible parts of the website or app, guidance for people with access needs to find alternatives, and information on the enforcement procedure if people are not happy with the response.

International standards

The other main requirement is to meet the accessibility standards, which are in line with the international WCAG 2.1 AA and European EN301 549 standards. The main thrust of these is to ensure a website is “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust” for all users.

GDS has previously published guidance on how to comply.

While the regulation will be implemented for new public sector sites next September, organisations will have until September 2020 to ensure existing websites comply and June 2021 for mobile apps.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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