The Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018

Most of the time when people talk about the accessibility regulations, they are referring to the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018.

In 2018 the UK passed legislation which stated that all Public Sector websites and mobile applications needed to be made accessible. There were several deadlines, and these aligned to the existing European Standards.

The deadlines are:

  • 23 September 2019 for websites which are created after 23 September 2018
  • 23 September 2020 for websites which are created before 23 September 2018
  • 23 June 2021 for mobile applications

How to meet the regulations

To be legally compliant, your website or mobile application will need to:

There is a difference between legal compliance and the Government Accessibility Requirements. If you’re working to the GOV.UK Service Standard you will need to do additional work to pass a service assessment.

The regulations explained

In 2014 a European law was passed which stated that anything which is bought or built by a public sector body needs to meet the European Standards for accessibility known as EN 301 549 - Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services. The deadline for this is 23 September 2020.

In 2018 the UK introduced it’s own accessibility legislation, The Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018. It was designed specifically for website and mobile applications but also aligns with the European Standards. It applies to any website or mobile app (internal or public facing) which is bought or built by a public sector body in the UK.

They apply to any software or hardware bought or built by a public sector body in Europe. It also covers websites and mobile applications, but if you’re building or buying these in the UK, the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 would be the standard you would need to work to.

Because the UK standards align with the European Standards, the same deadline of 23 September 2020 applies, and if you meet the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 you will also meet EN 301 549 for your website or mobile application.

What counts as a website?

The monitoring and reporting body for the regulations in the UK is CDDO (Central Digital and Data Office). When doing checks, CDDO will consider anything using web technologies as a website.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for internal use only or if you call it a programme, a tool or a portal. If runs in a browser and it’s using web technologies such as http protocols, then it is considered a website under the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018.