Parish Council websites, and all websites for public bodies, must now comply with the the WCAG 2.1 AA standard. This regulation builds on the Equality Act 2010 that states that all UK service providers must consider 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) ensure that web content on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes ensuring that people with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and impaired hearing are able to access the content of parish council websites effectively.
According to Scope, there are 14.1 million people living in the UK with disabilities. Making websites accessible means empowering website users who may use screen readers, braille displays, screen magnifiers, speech recognition software or on-screen keyboard emulators, to easily access the content of the website. WCAG 2.1 AA compliant public sector websites should also be clear to use, making them simpler to navigate for everyone. This also boosts the speed of the website, and improves search engine ranking.
The web content accessibility guidelines are composed of 4 main principles, you must ensure your parish council website is:
A full list of the success criteria for a WCAG 2.1 AA compliant website can be found here.
The web content accessibility guidelines are regularly being reviewed and updated. WCAG 2.1 uses the same conformance model as the earlier WCAG 2.0, with a couple of additions. If your website complies with WCAG 2.1, it will also be conforming to WCAG 2.0.
The constant advancements in technology and legislation, and the need to keep up with these changes, mean that it is important that your Parish Council website design company is able to comply with the latest standards as they are introduced. Complying to the WCAG requirements within the necessary time frame will also ensure that your website is not in conflict with the transparency code.
ThenMedia are WCAG 2.1 AA compliant website providers, and will monitor changes to accessibility legislation and update websites accordingly so you don't have to. To see all the benefits of a website hosted and designed by ThenMedia visit our Community Websites page.
Some Parish Councils choose to use their local village or community website to share Parish Council meeting agendas and minutes. This is not a problem providing that the whole community website is WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, and not just the Parish Council section. In reality, local community websites are often run by hobbyists or set up on free online platforms where making the necessary alterations to comply with accessibility guidance can be difficult. Therefore the Parish Council is at risk of breaching the transparency code.
As well as offering WCAG 2.1 AA compliant websites to Parish Councils, ThenMedia also offers fully compliant community websites at a competitive price. Our unique pay-monthly tiered system gives communities a fully featured website platform without the substantial setup fee charged by many of our competitors.
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