Written Question on Public Bodies: Disability

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Date Title Questioner
18 Jul 2018, 10:02 a.m. Public Bodies: Disability Seema Malhotra

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the draft Public Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 with the Equality Act 2010 so that all Schedule 19 public authorities are defined as public bodies for the purposes of the regulations; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Oliver Dowden)

The main obligations on public sector bodies in the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“the Regulations”) are to comply with the accessibility requirement, provided it does not impose a disproportionate burden on that body. This is aligned with the reasonable adjustment duties in the Equality Act 2010, which require a public authority or service-provider to make reasonable adjustments for persons with particular protected characteristics, including disability.

The authorities subject to the Regulations set out in the Web Accessibility Directive are narrower than those subject to the Equality Act 2010, including the list of public authorities in Schedule 19. In particular, the duty to make reasonable adjustments in the Equality Act 2010 also applies to service-providers and those exercising public functions.

The Regulations do not supersede any of the duties in the Equality Act 2010. Bodies who are subject to both the Regulations and the Equality Act will be required to meet their obligations under both. Government will be publishing guidance to support the implementation of the directive which will make clear that even if organisations or content are not subject to the Regulations, there may still be a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Government Digital Service (GDS) have produced a first iteration of guidance that can be accessed here : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps. GDS are continuing to develop this guidance over the summer, working with end users and accessibility specialists.


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