Digital Compliance Now Required for Many UK Companies
In 2018, the United Kingdom created its Accessibility Regulations, which states that all public sector websites created after September 23, 2018, the day said regulations came into effect, must be fully accessible within two years. All public sector mobile apps must be accessible by June 23, 2021, and websites published on or after this date must already be accessible upon launch. The goal of these regulations is to create a legal incentive for websites and mobile applications to become accessible for people with disabilities, such as those who use assistive technology like screen readers and keyboard-only navigation.
The UK’s Accessibility Regulations
“Fully accessible” is defined as being compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA. These are global guidelines published by The World Wide Web Consortium, or the W3C, which aims to develop open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web.
The Regulations describe public sector organizations as those established to meet the needs of the general interest, have a legal personality, and are financed, subject to supervision, or have a board with more than half of members appointed by the national or a local government. These organizations are also required to publish an Accessibility Statement and to keep that statement under review.
The two-year website deadline of September 23, 2020 has now passed, meaning that UK public sector sites must now be in compliance with the Accessibility Regulations and publish an Accessibility Statement. The Government Digital Service (GDS) is responsible for monitoring public sector websites to ensure that they have complied with these regulations. If a website is found to not be in compliance, the GDS will give time for the owners to fix the issues, but if a lack of compliance continues, the GDS and other government agencies will enforce consequences.
More regulations that encourage or require organizations to become WCAG compliant are likely in the future, leaving businesses scrambling to make their websites accessible as quickly as possible. Due to increasing regulations domestically and globally, many organizations are taking steps to engage with 3rd party accessibility experts, to both protect against legal action and make their digital properties accessible to all. Accessible360 is the leading live-user auditing company based in the United States and we have worked with endless organizations for years in the US and globally to achieve compliance and offer guidance through lawsuits. For more information about our services or the industry, fill out our contact form on this page, and we will be in touch right away.