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Creating an accessibility statement

An accessibility statement is a declaration of how accessible a website, app or service is.

We use it to: -

  • Declare our commitment to meet accessibility standards.
  • Provide users information about what to avoid.
  • Outline where we are not meeting WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility success criteria and when we plan to resolve them.
  • Offer users a way to report accessibility issues and request content in alternative accessible formats.
  • Give details of when the statement was created and reviewed and when the website or application was tested

Whose responsibility is the accessibility statement?

Generally, the responsibility of an accessibility statement is the product or service owner unless otherwise agreed.

This doesn’t mean owners have to make changes and updates, it just means they are responsible to ensure the statement is accurate and up to date.

A statement can be updated by anyone to reflect changes in accessibility.

How do I start writing an accessibility statement?

The Central Digital and Data Office provides details of how to create an accessibility statement using a sample for a fictional council website.

It helps as a starting point when writing your own statement.

What to include in your accessibility statement

Start your statement by outlining the scope of the website/mobile application that the statement applies to. It can apply to multiple websites or services, usually when these services and websites are connected by a user journey.

Tell the user what they should be able to do if they have impairments. This could include zooming in, increasing font size or use different types of assistive technology without barriers.

Include details of what barriers a user might face. Things like forms not having clear instructions or PDFs not being accessible to screen reader software. Be specific to help users know what to avoid.

Give users a way to provide feedback and contact the service if they need an alternative format to complete a task or access information. This should also serve as a way to report further accessibility issues that have not been identified.

Technical Information

Include the following wording about the commitment to making your service accessible. It is legally required, so do not change it.

‘[Name of organisation] is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.’

Compliance status

Add information about the level of compliance your service offers. You should state whether your service is fully, partially, or not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standards.

Your service is only fully compliant if it fails no WCAG 2.1 AA success criterion.

There is a legally required way of expressing your compliance status, the options are as follows: -

Non-accessible content

Within the non-accessible content section list out: -

  • Accessibility issues
  • Which WCAG 2.1 AA success criterion the issue fails on
  • When the issue will be resolved

You shouldn’t include any issues that you are claiming disproportionate burden for.

You should also list out your outstanding accessibility issues. A good format for listing these issues is as follows:

When trying to complete some forms with a keyboard, you cannot select a date and time. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (Keyboard). We plan to ensure all functionality is operable with a keyboard by 29th October 2021.

This format consists of the following: -

  1. Encompasses the issue

    This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (Keyboard).

  2. The criterion it fails

    When trying to complete some forms with a keyboard, you cannot select a date and time.

  3. When it will be resolved

    We plan to ensure all functionality is operable with a keyboard by 29th October 2021.

Disproportionate Burden

Add a disproportionate burden section if there are accessibility issues that are too much for an organisation to reasonably cope with. You must assess why this is the case and consider: -

  • The burden that is placed on your organisation by making those things accessible
  • The benefits of making those things accessible

It is important to remember that something that is currently classed as a disproportionate burden now may not always be the case. You should review these issues if should the situation change.

Finally, disproportionate burden is not a reason to not make something accessible. You make something accessible or make reasonable adjustments when they are needed.

You can find out more about disproportionate burden from GOV.UK’s guidance on Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

We are legally required to notify the user of when the statement was prepared and should mention when it was last reviewed.

“This statement was prepared on [date when it was first published]. It was last reviewed on [date when it was last reviewed].”

It is also good practice to mention when it was last tested and by whom.

“This website was last tested on [date]. The test was carried out by [add name of organisation that carried out test, or indicate that you did your own testing].”

To be helpful you can also mention how you decided to approach your testing by including information such as: -

  • How you decided what pages to test
  • How you decided how to test, including what browsers or assistive technologies you decided to use

Reviewing your statement

It is important your statement is reviewed and kept up to date. You should update your statement if: -

  • You discover further accessibility issues or if they are reported to you
  • You add a new feature or document that has accessibility issues
  • The status of an existing issues changes, such as the issue being resolved or if it no longer considered disproportionate burden

You should review your statement at least once a year. This can help you keep an eye on existing issues and to ensure there are on track to be resolved.