Public bodies face new website accessibility reporting requirements

Written by Colin Marrs on 31 May 2016 in News

Public sector websites are set to face new reporting requirements on accessibility after European Union agreement was reached.

Negotiations between the European Parliament, the council and the commission have agreed on rules which will standardise rules covering websites and mobile apps for government bodies across the continent.

The three groups have agreed the text of a new directive which is aimed at making it easier for the blind, deaf and hard of hearing to access services online.

Günther H. Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: "It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society.

“The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps, to participate in society to a fuller extent and to lead a more independent life."

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The agreed text of the directive outlines standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible, as well as requiring regular monitoring and reporting by member states.

Resulting reports will have to be communicated to the commission and be publicly available.

The text now needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After it is officially published, member states will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.

Around 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability, with the figure expected to increase to 120 million by 2020.

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Submitted on 31 May, 2016 - 12:07
Currently, in the UK, SOCITM runs an annual programme called "Better Connected" which reports on, among other things, levels of acceptable accessibility and mobile readiness. What will this new legislation mean? What will happen to those councils who constantly seem to be failing, and to all outside, look as though they are failing to make the necessary effort to change?