WCAG Compliant Websites
What is WCAG Website Compliance?
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites & Mobile Applications No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (to give its full title) came into force in late 2018. Its aim is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.
By September 2020, all parish, town & borough councils must have a website that complies with Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA rating so that it meets Accessibility Guidelines as set in the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility regulations.
WCAG is measured in 3 ratings – A, AA & AAA. The Government require public body websites to meet AA rating as a minimum standard. You can read this requirement here on the GDAS website.
WCAG 2.1 AA compliance covers many areas of a website and include how it’s constructed, how the user navigates around it, how the information is presented & displayed. In addition, the public body must be aware of all the website’s content and what may not be compliant and publish an Accessibility Statement.
What you need to be WCAG 2.1 AA compliant
As a simple guide, to comply with these accessibility guidelines, a public body must have:
- A WCAG 2.1 AA rated compliant website by Sept 2020.
- An Accessibility Policy Statement following a standard format by Sept 2020.
- An Accessible Documents statement, following a standard format by Sept 2020.
- A process to regularly monitor & review the website.
- A process to provide requests for content that is not in a compliant format.
The problem with existing websites
Historically, many providers have promoted cheap online website generators offering predefined themes and tools for users to launch a website with a press of a few buttons which are live in hours.
However, these services use proprietary code and platforms that do not meet accessibility requirements, particularly the new WCAG 2.1 AA standards. And so, councils are faced with having built a website on a platform that does not meet (and is unlikely to) the accessibility requirements because it’s on a platform shared by millions and those online service providers being unlikely to invest heavily in changes to their framework to accommodate these strict guidelines.
Get a WCAG 2.1 AA compliant website
There are many providers of website services but, in response to requests from members looking for a ready-made sector-specific package, the SLCC has partnered with Aubergine, an experienced website development agency, to provide a WCAG 2.1 AA rated compliant website and support package for members at a reduced cost. If commissioned and specified directly, WCAG 2.1 AA compliant websites can cost many thousands of pounds to build but we are pleased to offer all SLCC members access to website packages that start from £700 + VAT.
The WCAG 2.1 AA rated website package provides a compliant framework and website at the point of launch along with admin area training. Once live, the package includes support, maintenance and a quarterly WCAG scan report that highlights any areas that may fall out of compliance during the course of the year.
WCAG2.1 AA rated website
Ongoing WCAG monitoring
Transparency Code capability
Proven functionality, modern design & features
Fast to setup up & manage
Support & training
The website package includes
A WCAG 2.1 AA rated compliant website built on the WordPress platform.
A robust page builder theme to provide you with great page control.
A fully mobile friendly website.
Website admin tools to add new and update all the content easily yourself.
Transparency Code capability.
Thorough training to get you started plus ongoing support.
Guidance on website accessibility statements you may need.
A quarterly WCAG2.1 AA compliance scan & report highlighting any issues.
SSL-protected website hosting on our UK servers. Find out about SSLs here
We’ll manage all software updates so you don’t have to.
Automatic 12-hourly backups of the website.
On-going support as and when you need it – email, online or phone.
We will ensure your website remains GDPR compliant.
Domain name management, should you need it.
Additional GDPR-compliant email services for you, should you need it.
We’re JISC-approved to work with all .gov, .mod, .nhs & .org domains.
All our team are UK-based.
Aubergine are Cyber Essentials certificated.
You can view a demo of the platform here with the live site from SLCC members, Leighton-Linslade Town Council.
Q: Do I Need A Compliant Website?
A: All parish, town, borough and city councils need a compliant WCAG 2.1 AA rated website by September 23rd, 2020.
Q: Can We Convert Our Existing Website?
A: Technically, yes – but the time required to do this would probably cost more than getting a new site that’s based on an already-compliant framework.
Q: Can I Keep My Existing Domain Name / Website Address For A New Site?
A: Yes. You could also choose to move to a .gov.uk web address, and redirect your old site to this.
Q: What Happens To Our Email?
A: If your email is currently provided by a GDPR-compliant service, it can remain there. If it’s hosted on your current web server, it probably isn’t GDPR compliant and you’ll need to move it. Aubergine can help you do that.
Q: What Is The Package Commitment Length?
A: It is an annual service.
Q: Are There Any Other Designs?
A: The framework has lots of different design elements that you can place where you want. No two package websites will look the same. Here’s a short video showing how you can design your website to your council’s needs:
Q: What If Our Website Links To Another That Has Non-Compliant Content (eg Facebook)?
A: You are not responsible for another party’s website. If you link to another public body website, it is their responsibility to make sure it complies.
Q: Can I Host The Package Website Elsewhere?
A: No. The framework and servers are configured to be WCAG 2.1 AA compliant and can’t be hosted on a different server.
Q: Can I Have Some Extra Features?
A: The package includes all the features a council would need. Extra functionality and upgrades to the framework will continually be added (without extra cost) – just let Aubergine know what you want to see added.
Q: What Is An SSL?
A: SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a form of security for websites that encrypts data going between a user’s browser and the website server. For GDPR compliance, any website with a contact form should have an SSL.
Who are Aubergine?
Established in 2002, Aubergine’s management team have over 30 years’ experience in website design and coding. We are an 11-strong team of designers and developers based in Leighton Buzzard. We’ve worked with organisations such as The UN, GambleAware, The Mayor’s Fund For London and the Society for Local Council Clerks, and councils of varying sizes from Watford Borough Council to Leighton Buzzard Town Council.
We are Cyber Essentials certificated.