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Website Accessibility – Digital Access for all

All public sector websites will need to meet website accessibility standards by 23 September 2020, so that people who use assistive technology or have additional needs can easily access services and information.

The regulations to date are not entirely clear about who constitutes a public sector operation. However, if your organisation receives public-funding, then you will be required to comply with these mandatory directives.

This new law, The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 applies to websites, downloadable documents, mobile apps, intranets and extranets, which means wide-ranging implications for councils, government agencies and the education sector.

Non-government organisations such as charities, schools or nurseries are exempt from the accessibility regulations, except for content that the public need to access their services. Public sector broadcasters and their subsidiaries are also exempt. Note: the above are only exempt if they do not provide services that are essential to the public or aimed at people with assisted needs.

accessible design examples laptop on app

What is Digital Accessibility?

We have all experienced the frustration of slow loading website pages, having to squint at small text or unreadable fonts and graphics, also the annoyance of unfriendly or dysfunctional sites, particularly on mobile sites that are unresponsive to your smart-phone. While these issues might be slightly bothersome to many, for individuals with assisted needs, they can be severely restrictive.
Web accessibility is the requirement for websites to utilise tools and advanced technologies to assist and support people with assisted needs. These enhancements help with perception, understanding, contribution, navigation, engagement and interaction. Integrating accessibility can seem a daunting task when it’s not your skill-set. However, it is a vital element of the users’ digital experience and wellbeing.
Ideally, accessibility should be considered and built into any new web design and development project, rather than trying to retrofit it as an afterthought. However, that’s not always possible with budgets, and other considerations such as resource to manage such an undertaking.

The Solution

Public Sector Solutions have a set four stage structured approach to resolving your website accessibly obligations. As part of that process, we will identify what is required and or confirm whether it is more cost-effective to start anew.

Public Sector Solutions, a division of Formation Media Limited, has an in-depth understanding of the technicalities involved, having worked for the NHS and UK Police forces for over a decade – with our in-house team of experienced accessibility consultants, trained UX / UI designers and developers.

To top it all off, we are one of only a handful of UK agencies to be ISO 9001 Quality Management certified, be assured you will be in very safe and secure hands.

Find out more about website accessibility from the Website Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

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FREE: WCAG 2.1AA Report

Complete the request form on our website, or call 01926 298999, to receive your FREE website compliance report* and returned within 24 hours.

*The report will contain all non-conformances to AA standards and confirm what non-compliance issues the website currently has.


Manual Audit: Website Accessibility Regulations

Post the report upon request; we will conduct a manual site audit by an accessibility developer. This process is a time-consuming stage, with each separate area of the website undergoing appraisal; page by page and recorded, to identify precisely all of the required amends to be fully compliant.

This assessment then becomes the roadmap for the sites re-development to bring the site into compliance – bearing in-mind this is for the benefit of users with specific needs – this can only be evaluated by actually completing and gauging the action of a user from an accessibility point of view. Phase two is cost-dependent upon the website size: usually dictated by style-sheet quantity.


Quotation & Corrective Development

With the gained knowledge from the phase two Manual Audit, we are then in the position to quote accordingly for the corrective development required. Please bear in mind; all corrective development work is completed in-house by our development team, to our strict development and coding philosophy, making the website fit for purpose.


Website Compliance Accessibility Statement

To confirm the sites newly gained compliance, we finally write the required and tailored Website Accessibility Statement, at a standard set cost. This accessibility statement is posted to the newly completed website for public knowledge as a mandatory compliance requirement.

In certain instances, your existing public sector website may be too old or dysfunctional for corrective development, and therefore it may be cost-effective to rebuild the site to the latest standards and with accessibility compliance in-built. Upon receipt of your free website accessibility report, this is a conversation you may wish to discuss with one of our Digital Consultants. Our objective is to gain website compliance cost-effectively. A new website may well bypass the expenditure of Phase 2 and 3, while still adhering to the latest protocols – ultimately our joint roles are to deliver a great user experience to the website user, including those with assisted needs, consequently proving compliance.

David Jamieson with police officers

Case Study: Police & Crime Commissioners

Launched in the Summer of 2019, the project involved working closely with the PCC’s office to create a website which was accessible to all.


Want to know more?

If you wish to start the assessment process and correct your existing site within timescales, or commission a new fully-compliant website to WCAG 2.1AA standards from the sector specialists – get in touch.

We are knowledgeable, professional, and we understand the public sector, we’re here to help.

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    West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Logo
    Police and Crime Commissioner West Mercia
    Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire
    Police and Crime Commissioner Cumbria
    Police and Crime Commissioner Avon & Somerset
    Police and Crime Commissioner Derbyshire