Public Sector Accessibility Regulations 2018

Public Sector Bodies (Website and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018


What do Public Sector organisations need to know?

New regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018 which stipulate that organisations must make any websites or mobile apps more accessible by making them ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’.

With the September 23rd 2019 deadline fast approaching, it is essential that organisations act quickly and ensure that their website or mobile app complies with this legislation.


Does this apply to your organisation?

The Regulations apply to websites/apps of UK public sector bodies (e.g. NHS Trusts), which includes (a) the state, (b) regional or local authorities, (c) bodies governed by public law, and (d) associations formed by authorities/bodies referred to in (b) or (c).

All organisations must meet the 2018 requirements unless they are exempt. Some organisations may not have to meet the requirements if doing so would be a ‘disproportionate burden’.

Most public sector websites and apps do not currently meet accessibility requirements.


What does ‘accessible’ actually mean?

The regulation requires that public sector websites or mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible, including those with vision impairment, motor difficulties, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, deafness or impaired hearing.

Making content ‘accessible’ means ensuring that your online content and design is clear and simple enough so that most people can use it without needing to adapt it, while supporting those who do need to adapt things.

Having an ‘accessible website’ can also benefit an organisation in other ways. For example, they tend to be faster and easier to use and can get higher rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing.


When do the Regulations apply?

September 23, 2019 / New public sector body websites (being those published on or after 23 September 2018)
September 23, 2020 / Existing public sector body websites
June 23, 2021 / Public sector body mobile apps


What do you need to do?

  • Identify if the regulations apply to your organisation
  • Prove ‘disproportionate burden’ via assessment (where appropriate)
  • Compile and publish Accessibility Statement
  • Schedule updates to website/mobile app to comply with WCAG2.1 AA standards
  • Compile and publish policy for responding to individuals’ requests


How can the Web Orchard help?

As Web Development professionals with over 15 years’ experience, The Web Orchard are experts in designing accessible and compliant websites and mobile apps.

We are therefore in the best position to provide advice and guidance to Public Sector Bodies on their accessibility obligations, and to perform the necessary updates and configuration changes required.

Our expertise will help organisations reach the WCAG2.1 AA standards and to comply explicitly with the Public Sector Bodies (Website and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018.


In conjunction with our legal advisers we can provide the following services:

  • Identify if the regulations apply to your organisation
  • Perform Website/App Accessibility audit and reporting
  • Provide template for ‘disproportionate burden’ assessment
  • Compile organisation-specific Accessibility Statement
  • Update/Configure website/mobile apps to comply with legislation and WCAG2.1 AA standards


Further information on organisation responsibilities for complying with the Public Sector Bodies (Website and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 can be found here