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Thread: Public sites in access storm
Apr 11, 2003, 06:39 #1
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Public sites in access storm
Taken from yesterday's Mirror newspaper:
MANY public service websites are breaking the government's own rules and may have to be pulled down.
A series of internal reports leaked to newsletter eGov Monitor Weekly found that an astonishing 78 per cent of public service sites - that's about 800 - "discriminate against disabled users".
According to last year's amendment to the Disability Discrimination Act, organisations must make "reasonable efforts" to make their services usable by disabled people.
That includes basic options such as larger text, audio browsing or clearer colour schemes for the partially sighted and the blind.
Ironically, parts of the leaked report are said to be compiled by the Office of e-Envoy, the department which co-ordinates government websites - such as the Inland Revenue - and ensures that they are accessible to all people.
Not according to an e-Envoy spokeswoman, who said: "We are concerned that many government websites need redesigning but it's not our statutory responsibility.
"The role of the e-Envoy is to provide guidance and support. Responsibility for this lies with individual departments."
Ian Cuddy, editor of eGov Monitor Weekly, thinks differently. He said: "Why is the e-Envoy's office distancing itself from this when it should be taking a more active role?
"There is a legal requirement to create websites that comply with the government's own disability laws."