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Public sector website regulations come into force

View profile for Maria Chadwick
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On 23rd September 2019, The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 were implemented, meaning that all public sector organisations’ websites launched on or after 23rd September 2018 must meet accessibility standards. The Act holds that these websites must meet the appropriate standard by 23rd September 2020, and all mobile applications must meet this standard by 23rd June 2021.

The UK Government Digital Service has reported that one in three disabled people in the UK experience difficulties in accessing public, commercial and leisure goods and services, leaving these bodies open to a potential claim of a failure to make reasonable adjustments under Section 21 of the Equality Act 2010. This recent change in legislation appears to be an effort to minimise the potential for such claims to arise.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person with a disability is someone who has physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

If a physical feature or other arrangement of an organisation/service provider puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, the organisation/service provider is under a statutory duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent this (e.g. by offering website content in a number of different formats such as large font or text relay). If the organisation/service provider fails to make this adjustment, they may be failing in this duty pursuant to Section 21 of the Equality Act 2010.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against as a result of a protected characteristic, you may be able to bring a claim for discrimination under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. Please contact our specialist discrimination team for further advice on 01616 966 229.