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UK Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 took effect in the United Kingdom on September 23 2018.

The Regulations had originally been enacted in order to adopt Directive (EU) 2016/2102 – also known as the EU Web Accessibility Directive – into national law. When the UK exited the European Union in 2020, the Regulations were amended to remove mentions of the EU and the Directive, but otherwise they remain similar in content to their original form.

The aim of the Regulations is to provide inclusive digital services to the public. They complement the provisions of the UK Equality Act 2010, which is a piece of legislation that protects people from discrimination across all avenues of life, including individuals with disabilities in areas like employment and education. Where the Equality Act covers much broader aspects of equal access and opportunities, the Regulations serve as a targeted framework for the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are explicitly named in the Regulations as the standard to follow in order to achieve accessibility. Public sector bodies must adhere to at least WCAG Level AA. Additionally, they are required to publish an accessibility statement that provides information about the level of accessibility of their digital content. The statement should also include details regarding any areas that do not meet accessibility standards, along with contact information for users to report issues and request alternative formats of content.

To ensure ongoing compliance, public sector bodies must conduct regular testing of their websites and mobile applications and write an accessibility audit report every three years. If WCAG Level AA guidelines are not met, the public sector body must develop a plan outlining the necessary steps to improve accessibility.