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18-05-2020 by Andrew Parrott
Does your website conform to WCAG 2.1, the main international standard for web accessibility?
This is especially important if it is a website for local government - a town or parish council website for example.
If the site was published before 23rd September 2018 then you have until 23rd September 2020 to become compliant. If your website was published after 23rd September 2018 then you have until 23rd September 2019 to be compliant and publish an accessibility statement. You will need to review and update your accessibility statement regularly.
It may not be as difficult as you think to rectify problems if there are any. It is mainly a question of ensuring that the colour contrast on buttons, links and text is enough for visually impaired users. For those who rely on screen readers to understand your website you need to ensure that there are descriptions for all images and that the structure and content of the site makes sense.
As well as checking the site itself, you need to make sure that PDF documents such as minutes and agendas are accessible.
If you are creating PDFs from modern versions of Microsoft Word you can ensure the documents comply as follows:
Open the Word document.
In Microsoft 365 click on File and then Info and then click the Check for Issues icon next to the Inspect Document heading. Choose Check Accessibility and you'll be advised of any issues which can then be rectified before saving as a PDF file.
We built the Chagford Parish website over 20 years ago and have maintained it ever since, so know what is required from a parish council website.
In addition to this we have also created several other local ones.
All the parish council websites we build meet both the WCAG2.1 guidelines and the local government Transparency Code.