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January 2020
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Recite Me guide to help local authorities comply with new accessibility laws

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Web accessibility and language software company Recite Me has created a guide to help public sector bodies including local authorities understand and comply with new public sector web accessibility regulations.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force for UK public sector bodies in September 2018.

These regulations set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies including local authorities must follow, although some types of public sector organisations (and specific types of content) are exempt.

The regulations implement the EU directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications into UK law.

In order to comply new public sector websites (published on or after the regulations came into force in September 2018) must follow the principles of World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA standards by 23 September 2019.

Existing websites must follow the principles of the WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards by 23 September 2020.

The guide is available now via Recite Me’s website and it gives a summary of the regulations, plus information about what public sector bodies need to do to comply and how Recite Me can help.

To make a website or mobile app accessible public sector bodies like local authorities must ensure as many people as possible, including people with disabilities, can use it to do what they need to do.

One in five people in the UK have a disability. This number is rising as the UK has an ageing population and most disabilities are acquired with age.

So the older we live, the more likely we are to become disabled.

But evidence shows that most public sector websites don’t meet accessibility standards. This means they are inaccessible for people with disabilities.

For example, a recent study found that only 60% of UK local authority websites’ home pages are accessible to people with disabilities

The new regulations are set to change this and the guide by Recite Me will be a useful tool for public sector bodies like local authorities to help them comply with the laws.

Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “All local authorities must take action now to ensure their websites and apps comply with the requirements and deadlines set out in the new public sector accessibility regulations.

“The guide Recite Me has created will give local authorities a very clear idea of what the regulations cover and what needs to be done to comply with them, by when.

“Although complying with the new regulations may be challenging, having an accessible website that follows the principles of WCAG 2.1 global web accessibility guidelines is a great way for local authorities to reach a wider audience.”

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