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Website Accessibility Regulations
& .gov.uk domains
Everything You Need to Know About Your Council's Website
For parish & town clerks and those who administer websites for
councils.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
What we’ll cover
 A refresher of website accessibility
 The common issues
 The publishing techniques to stay accessible
 What to publish
 The checking process
 .gov.uk domains and how to get & use them
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
What is web accessibility?
It's a way of presenting web pages and the information on them in a
way that works for people with disabilities and for those who use
‘assistive technology’.
Assistive technology is software & hardware on a user’s computer
that helps them interact with a website - such as a screen reader for
those with sight loss or low vision.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Why does it matter?
1 in 5 people in every community has a disability or situation that
makes it difficult for them to access or interact with websites.
This includes those with physical, learning or age-related challenges
as well as colour blindness, dyslexia, physical disabilities and
blindness.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Websites aren’t accessible by
default
Websites need to be made in a special way for them to work for those
with disabilities. Just because the website is new does not mean it’s
accessible or compliant.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Specify compliance
 If your website wasn't built with WCAG 2.1AA as part of the brief, it
won't be accessible and you are creating barriers for your
parishioners.
 WCAG2.2AA compliance will be from October 2024.
There are build technicalities that are updated.
 If you are with Aubergine – it’s all covered!
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Public information for everyone
Councils publish public information - every member of the public has
a legal right to access the information without any barriers.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
It’s the right thing to do and the
law
It's law for all UK public bodies’ websites (councils of all levels except
parish meetings) to meet the international standard called WCAG
2.1AA - that means it works to a set measurement of testing.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Most common fail points
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
 Website construction method
 Accessibility plugins
 Tables
 Accessible documents
 Document file names
 Page content:
 Formatting; headings, fonts, sizes
 Link text
 Images
 Navigation
 Pop ups, newsfeeds and integration with 3rd
party websites, like Twitter & Facebook
 Colours & contrasts
 Accessibility checkers & processes
Here are some basic
principles to make the
experience for those with
disabilities better…
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Plug the gap
 Many councils and service providers choose an ‘accessibility
plugin’.
 They do not make the website properly accessible and do not meet
the WCAG2.1AA requirement and should not be used.
 They actually create greater barriers than they solve.
 The disability community all agree on this.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Why are they not right?
 Do not make your website WCAG2.1AA compliant
 Can fix minor problems but not serious user experience issues
 Conflict with and override a user’s existing assistive technologies like screen
readers
 Do not compare to manual accessibility audits
 Do not work well on mobile
 Do not offer an equal website experience for disabled users
 The main issue is they don’t change the underlying code of your website.
Solution: Commission an audit, commission repair or commission a new
accessible website that has accessibility baked in from the start
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Resource: https://bighack.org/why-accessibility-overlays-and-widgets-do-not-improve-your-website-accessibility/
Images & graphics need
descriptions
 Always use ALT Text descriptions for every image
 Avoid embedding words into images, even if you add ALT Text.
 Access to information in an image must not be exclusive to
those with sight.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Bad <img src=“fair-poster-a4_final-v2.png" alt=“poster">
Good <img src="pancakes.png" alt=“Bonfire and fireworks event 4th Nov 2021 poster">
Adding ALT Text
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
 Update your version of Wordpress
 Other web platforms have ALT TEXT input
fields
 Properly name the image before
uploading
 Arrows, icons, stock images – mark as
decorative
 Aubergine’s platform won’t allow you to
add an
image without adding an ALT TEXT
Make link text descriptive
 Make sure link text is descriptive. Stop using 'click here' or 'here'
or 'download’ Make link text descriptive e.g 'A Parish Council
Minutes September 2022.pdf’ The user will know what they are
going to open.
 The same goes for links to websites – link behind a description:
e.g: Visit the Cambridge County Council Website
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Avoid…
Don’t paste full URLs on web pages – Assistive technology reads
every letter out one at a time, very slowwwwwwly…
H-t-t-p-s-:-/-/w-w-w-dot-…….. Aaarrgh!
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Clear text
Use a good, clear open typeface (font). Not small, faintly coloured or
too fancy.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Add structure to the page
 Use sequential headings on the web page to section content
(use them in your Word docs, too!)
It’s how those with sight loss navigate a page
H1, H2, H3 etc… and not chosen by how they look!
Tutorials: www.aubergine262.com/category/web-accessibility
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
“Not at the table, Carlos”*
 Avoid tables for anything other than financial information
 They have no navigation and screen readers do not know what
order to read the rows and columns.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Colours & contrast
 Keep colours to a strict high contrast
 Avoid pastels and light colours
 Don’t use coloured text on coloured backgrounds.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Accessible documents
Ensure the documents you upload to your website are in an
accessible format. PDFs created using MS Word are fine as long as
they are checked but you may want to actually put the content on the
web page rather than a document for better accessibility. Word
documents create a socio-economic barrier because they require the
user to have a Microsoft Office subscription.
TIP: in Word, select ‘save as’ PDF and not print to PDF. The former keeps text formatting, latter makes an image of the page.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
What to publish
A reminder of what needs to be published on the website:
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
 All (ratified) policies
 Councillors’ profiles & ROIs
(recommend redacting signatures)
 5x years of AGAR
 Precept & budget info
 Payments over £100 (if <£25k precept)
 Payments over £500 (if higher precept)
 Contact details for the council
 Accessibility Statement, privacy policy and
Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme
 Agendas (5 clear days before meeting date)
 Minutes of meetings within 30 days of meeting
(they do not need to be signed)
 There are no specific requirements for how many
years of historical meeting documents are
published – the council must retain them in its
records ‘forever’
Scans
 Avoid scans of documents
 Exclusions:
Declarations of Interest/Registers of Interest where used
 AGAR files
 Mythbuster: You don’t need to upload signed documents to the website.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Write for people who aren’t clerks
Write the content for normal people - try and think that the person
reading your page or document won't have your knowledge or
experience so write in plain English, avoid jargon and keep acronyms
to a minimum (screen readers annunciate them slowly, one letter at a
time!)
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Measure twice, cut once
Have a checking process for when you update a web page - use a free
web browser tool called WAVE by webaim - it'll give you a good
snapshot of any accessibility issues.
Download the browser extension here:
https://wave.webaim.org/extension/
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Make a statement
Update your accessibility statement - there are good model
documents available but understand what it means – it’s a living
document.
It's a reflection of your council's position on managing its
accessibility requirements.
Don’t forget – Council need to ratify and adopt it. It’s a policy.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Change your mindset
This is an opportunity, not an inconvenience as it means you can talk
to and get the council's message across to the 20% of your
community that, thus far, have struggled to access the information to
which they are entitled.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
To .gov.uk or not
• It’s a domain suffix only available to government bodies
• Only authorised registrars can set up and manage them
• They add a high level of authenticity & trust to the content &
messaging
• Additional security benefits – domain locking, NCSC scanning,
greater security processes, GDPR & FOI/SAR situations
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
When & do I have to?
 Beta programmes underway with CDDO to have assisted
onboarding
(through Aubergine and others)
 Potentially some small funding available to get domain.
 Unlikely to become law – it’s more about the benefits rather than
the instructed requirement
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Benefits
 Using a .gov.uk domain is beneficial because it gives your eligible organisations
trusted branding, increased security and helps meet any policy and legal
obligations
 A .gov.uk domain name used by your organisation:
 Shows services, emails and websites are from a trusted UK public sector
organisation like a central government department or parish council
 Means your website and service could potentially show up higher in search results
 Allows staff to join public sector communities which require a .gov.uk email
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
 Gives your domain better legal protection because it’s based in a UK jurisdiction
 Means outgoing emails are more likely to be cleared by security filters
 Increases transparency of smaller organisations when public servants use
corporate email accounts instead of personal email accounts for official
government business
 Helps smaller organisations fulfil best practice guidelines as outlined in the Joint
Panel on Accountability and Governance Practitioners’ Guide 2021
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Benefits
Requirements
 Requirements include GDPR compliant email services – the
clerk/RFO as a min. A WCAG2.1AA compliant website
 Councillors are NOT required to have .gov.uk email addresses (yet)
 Not a legal requirement yet but encouraged
 Costs ~£100 + VAT pa – depending on the supplier’s included
services
 Consider it at precept time.
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
Further information on the .gov.uk framework is available here on the CDDO .gov.uk
website:
 Benefits of getting a .gov.uk domain - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
 How you are accountable for protecting your .gov.uk domain - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
 Keeping your domain name secure - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
 CDDO contact details:
domainmanagement@digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk if there are any changes in how
your use your domain name
Your presenter: Mark Tomkins of Aubergine | Parish & Town Council Website, Accessibility & .gov.uk Expert
Further .gov.uk information
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
It can be daunting to start so seek some guidance and ask Aubergine to set you off on
the right foot!
 Compliant website packages from £499+VAT: www.aubergine262.com/wcag
 Tutorials & helpful guides: www.aubergine262.com/category/web-accessibility
 WAVE by Webaim accessibility page checker: https://wave.webaim.org/extension/
 SLCC & NALC/ALCs – see support from your local groups
 NALC Website Accessibility & Publishing Guidebook:
https://www.aubergine262.com/nalc-guide-to-website-accessibility-and-publishing/
 PDF accessibility checker: https://checkers.eiii.eu/en/pdfcheck/
 Contact me: mark.tomkins@aubergine262.com
Ask for help
Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert

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Everything you need to know about your Parish or Town council website & .gov.uk domain

  • 1. Website Accessibility Regulations & .gov.uk domains Everything You Need to Know About Your Council's Website For parish & town clerks and those who administer websites for councils. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 2. What we’ll cover  A refresher of website accessibility  The common issues  The publishing techniques to stay accessible  What to publish  The checking process  .gov.uk domains and how to get & use them Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 3. What is web accessibility? It's a way of presenting web pages and the information on them in a way that works for people with disabilities and for those who use ‘assistive technology’. Assistive technology is software & hardware on a user’s computer that helps them interact with a website - such as a screen reader for those with sight loss or low vision. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 4. Why does it matter? 1 in 5 people in every community has a disability or situation that makes it difficult for them to access or interact with websites. This includes those with physical, learning or age-related challenges as well as colour blindness, dyslexia, physical disabilities and blindness. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 5. Websites aren’t accessible by default Websites need to be made in a special way for them to work for those with disabilities. Just because the website is new does not mean it’s accessible or compliant. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 6. Specify compliance  If your website wasn't built with WCAG 2.1AA as part of the brief, it won't be accessible and you are creating barriers for your parishioners.  WCAG2.2AA compliance will be from October 2024. There are build technicalities that are updated.  If you are with Aubergine – it’s all covered! Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 7. Public information for everyone Councils publish public information - every member of the public has a legal right to access the information without any barriers. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 8. It’s the right thing to do and the law It's law for all UK public bodies’ websites (councils of all levels except parish meetings) to meet the international standard called WCAG 2.1AA - that means it works to a set measurement of testing. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 9. Most common fail points Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert  Website construction method  Accessibility plugins  Tables  Accessible documents  Document file names  Page content:  Formatting; headings, fonts, sizes  Link text  Images  Navigation  Pop ups, newsfeeds and integration with 3rd party websites, like Twitter & Facebook  Colours & contrasts  Accessibility checkers & processes
  • 10. Here are some basic principles to make the experience for those with disabilities better… Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 11. Plug the gap  Many councils and service providers choose an ‘accessibility plugin’.  They do not make the website properly accessible and do not meet the WCAG2.1AA requirement and should not be used.  They actually create greater barriers than they solve.  The disability community all agree on this. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 12. Why are they not right?  Do not make your website WCAG2.1AA compliant  Can fix minor problems but not serious user experience issues  Conflict with and override a user’s existing assistive technologies like screen readers  Do not compare to manual accessibility audits  Do not work well on mobile  Do not offer an equal website experience for disabled users  The main issue is they don’t change the underlying code of your website. Solution: Commission an audit, commission repair or commission a new accessible website that has accessibility baked in from the start Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert Resource: https://bighack.org/why-accessibility-overlays-and-widgets-do-not-improve-your-website-accessibility/
  • 13. Images & graphics need descriptions  Always use ALT Text descriptions for every image  Avoid embedding words into images, even if you add ALT Text.  Access to information in an image must not be exclusive to those with sight. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert Bad <img src=“fair-poster-a4_final-v2.png" alt=“poster"> Good <img src="pancakes.png" alt=“Bonfire and fireworks event 4th Nov 2021 poster">
  • 14. Adding ALT Text Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert  Update your version of Wordpress  Other web platforms have ALT TEXT input fields  Properly name the image before uploading  Arrows, icons, stock images – mark as decorative  Aubergine’s platform won’t allow you to add an image without adding an ALT TEXT
  • 15. Make link text descriptive  Make sure link text is descriptive. Stop using 'click here' or 'here' or 'download’ Make link text descriptive e.g 'A Parish Council Minutes September 2022.pdf’ The user will know what they are going to open.  The same goes for links to websites – link behind a description: e.g: Visit the Cambridge County Council Website Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 16. Avoid… Don’t paste full URLs on web pages – Assistive technology reads every letter out one at a time, very slowwwwwwly… H-t-t-p-s-:-/-/w-w-w-dot-…….. Aaarrgh! Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 17. Clear text Use a good, clear open typeface (font). Not small, faintly coloured or too fancy. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 18. Add structure to the page  Use sequential headings on the web page to section content (use them in your Word docs, too!) It’s how those with sight loss navigate a page H1, H2, H3 etc… and not chosen by how they look! Tutorials: www.aubergine262.com/category/web-accessibility Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 19. “Not at the table, Carlos”*  Avoid tables for anything other than financial information  They have no navigation and screen readers do not know what order to read the rows and columns. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 20. Colours & contrast  Keep colours to a strict high contrast  Avoid pastels and light colours  Don’t use coloured text on coloured backgrounds. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 21. Accessible documents Ensure the documents you upload to your website are in an accessible format. PDFs created using MS Word are fine as long as they are checked but you may want to actually put the content on the web page rather than a document for better accessibility. Word documents create a socio-economic barrier because they require the user to have a Microsoft Office subscription. TIP: in Word, select ‘save as’ PDF and not print to PDF. The former keeps text formatting, latter makes an image of the page. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 22. What to publish A reminder of what needs to be published on the website: Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert  All (ratified) policies  Councillors’ profiles & ROIs (recommend redacting signatures)  5x years of AGAR  Precept & budget info  Payments over £100 (if <£25k precept)  Payments over £500 (if higher precept)  Contact details for the council  Accessibility Statement, privacy policy and Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme  Agendas (5 clear days before meeting date)  Minutes of meetings within 30 days of meeting (they do not need to be signed)  There are no specific requirements for how many years of historical meeting documents are published – the council must retain them in its records ‘forever’
  • 23. Scans  Avoid scans of documents  Exclusions: Declarations of Interest/Registers of Interest where used  AGAR files  Mythbuster: You don’t need to upload signed documents to the website. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 24. Write for people who aren’t clerks Write the content for normal people - try and think that the person reading your page or document won't have your knowledge or experience so write in plain English, avoid jargon and keep acronyms to a minimum (screen readers annunciate them slowly, one letter at a time!) Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 25. Measure twice, cut once Have a checking process for when you update a web page - use a free web browser tool called WAVE by webaim - it'll give you a good snapshot of any accessibility issues. Download the browser extension here: https://wave.webaim.org/extension/ Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 26. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 27. Make a statement Update your accessibility statement - there are good model documents available but understand what it means – it’s a living document. It's a reflection of your council's position on managing its accessibility requirements. Don’t forget – Council need to ratify and adopt it. It’s a policy. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 28. Change your mindset This is an opportunity, not an inconvenience as it means you can talk to and get the council's message across to the 20% of your community that, thus far, have struggled to access the information to which they are entitled. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 29. To .gov.uk or not • It’s a domain suffix only available to government bodies • Only authorised registrars can set up and manage them • They add a high level of authenticity & trust to the content & messaging • Additional security benefits – domain locking, NCSC scanning, greater security processes, GDPR & FOI/SAR situations Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 30. When & do I have to?  Beta programmes underway with CDDO to have assisted onboarding (through Aubergine and others)  Potentially some small funding available to get domain.  Unlikely to become law – it’s more about the benefits rather than the instructed requirement Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 31. Benefits  Using a .gov.uk domain is beneficial because it gives your eligible organisations trusted branding, increased security and helps meet any policy and legal obligations  A .gov.uk domain name used by your organisation:  Shows services, emails and websites are from a trusted UK public sector organisation like a central government department or parish council  Means your website and service could potentially show up higher in search results  Allows staff to join public sector communities which require a .gov.uk email Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 32.  Gives your domain better legal protection because it’s based in a UK jurisdiction  Means outgoing emails are more likely to be cleared by security filters  Increases transparency of smaller organisations when public servants use corporate email accounts instead of personal email accounts for official government business  Helps smaller organisations fulfil best practice guidelines as outlined in the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance Practitioners’ Guide 2021 Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert Benefits
  • 33. Requirements  Requirements include GDPR compliant email services – the clerk/RFO as a min. A WCAG2.1AA compliant website  Councillors are NOT required to have .gov.uk email addresses (yet)  Not a legal requirement yet but encouraged  Costs ~£100 + VAT pa – depending on the supplier’s included services  Consider it at precept time. Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 34. Further information on the .gov.uk framework is available here on the CDDO .gov.uk website:  Benefits of getting a .gov.uk domain - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)  How you are accountable for protecting your .gov.uk domain - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)  Keeping your domain name secure - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)  CDDO contact details: domainmanagement@digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk if there are any changes in how your use your domain name Your presenter: Mark Tomkins of Aubergine | Parish & Town Council Website, Accessibility & .gov.uk Expert Further .gov.uk information Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert
  • 35. It can be daunting to start so seek some guidance and ask Aubergine to set you off on the right foot!  Compliant website packages from £499+VAT: www.aubergine262.com/wcag  Tutorials & helpful guides: www.aubergine262.com/category/web-accessibility  WAVE by Webaim accessibility page checker: https://wave.webaim.org/extension/  SLCC & NALC/ALCs – see support from your local groups  NALC Website Accessibility & Publishing Guidebook: https://www.aubergine262.com/nalc-guide-to-website-accessibility-and-publishing/  PDF accessibility checker: https://checkers.eiii.eu/en/pdfcheck/  Contact me: mark.tomkins@aubergine262.com Ask for help Mark Tomkins | Parish & Town Council Website & Accessibility Expert