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Leicester City Council

Ongoing accessibility partnership with Leicester City Council, supporting a drive for both WCAG compliance and genuine practical accessibility.

  • Who: Leicester City Council
  • What: Ongoing accessibility reviews of in-house and third-party apps and portals
  • How: Digital accessibility audits against WCAG 2.1 and now 2.2 level AA
  • Result: Improvements in practical accessibility and WCAG compliance across a diverse range of apps and portals

Background

Leicester City Council (LCC) deliver services through a wide range of websites, portals and apps for both internal teams and Leicester’s residents, visitors and businesses.

Accessibility is key priority for LCC, with a webteam dedicated to ensuring that accessibility best practice is adhered to. However, given the size of their digital estate, LCC were also looking for an external accessibility partner to audit these digital services to ensure that they were meeting the legally required standard (WCAG 2.2 level AA) and achieving a high level of practical accessibility and inclusion for all their users.

W3C set out guidelines for accessibility good practice. These are detailed in their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and are regarded by the digital industry as being a good standard against which to benchmark the accessibility of websites, in order to comply with the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act.

Since June 2021, Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 specifies that public sector apps must conform to WCAG 2.2 at AA standard.

What we did

Since 2021, we have carried out a programme of accessibility audits across a range of websites, portals and mobile apps. To date, this includes 34 audits that have explored central council functions, internal portals and mobile apps that deliver essential services like parking, libraries and council communications.

In each case, the digital service is audited by hand against the WCAG 2.1 and now 2.2 accessibility guidelines to level AA, using the WCAG Evaluation Methodology approach.

All WCAG success criterion failures are documented with a description of the criterion, why it matters to people with disabilities and the issue illustrated with examples. This is accompanied by a workable solutions or recommendations.

The outcomes from each audit are discussed over a video call with the LCC team and the third-party developers to ensure full understanding of the issues and to discuss the best solutions within the organisational constraints. Ongoing support and advice is provided to the developers as needed during the implementation of the fixes.

Outcomes

By working closely with LCC and the external development teams, we have been able to provide achievable solutions and advice that is now being implemented on an ongoing basis, leading to:

  • Legal compliance with WCAG guidelines as required of a public sector organisation
  • Improved accessibility across the websites, portals and apps
  • Greater organisational focus on and awareness of accessibility, both within LCC but also for the external app providers

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