The new WCAG 2.1 guidelines on the accessibility requirements for council websites are causing a lot of worry and concern for local councils at the moment. One of the things you may be considering if you have one of our older websites is whether or not the council can afford to make their website accessible.
There is something covered under the WCAG 2.1 Guidelines for this situation called "Disproportionate Burden". But what does that mean?
If complying to the accessibility guidelines would be a disproportionate burden to the council then you are not expected to comply completely. In order to know if this would be a disproportionate burden, your council is legally required to carry out an assessment. In this assessment you will need to consider the benefits and burdens of making your website accessible. Things to consider include:
- The benefits to users with disabilities of meeting the standards
- The cost of meeting the standards
- How it’s used by disabled people - how often and for how long
- Your council’s size and resources
You can’t take into account irrelevant things like lack of time or knowledge, or because you haven’t given it priority.
You will then need to write an accessibility statement describing which of the regulations you do and don't meet and why. This is likely to change overtime and so should be reviewed regularly. Just because you don't have the resources in 2020 doesn't mean you wont have them by 2025.
If you are one of our current clients we also offer different financial options for councils with smaller precepts and would be happy to talk to you about how we can help. Please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org .