The Cabinet Office Government Digital Services have issued notification that Scottish Community Councils are subject to The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 under the definition of “bodies governed by public law” and “public sector body”.

It is appreciated that Community Councils will not have been aware of this categorisation and the consequences arising from it. However, the Cabinet Office recognises that many small organisations will not have the capacity to comply with the legislation in the same manner as large scale public bodies, but they do expect you to comply with the requirements. Below are the 3 stages that Community Councils will need to carry out.

The first stage requires you to go to the following webpage: https://accessibility.campaign.gov.uk/

It sets out the initial 4 steps that you will need to take. A thorough walk through of what you need to do at each step is provided.

             • Decide how to check your website or app for accessibility problems

             • Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems you find

             • Publish an accessibility statement

             • Make sure new features are accessible

The second stage requires you to go to the following webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps#when-complying-with-accessibility-regulations-might-be-a-disproportionate-burden

It explains to organisations the circumstances which may allow a Community Council to not require to fully meet accessibility standards. This is the case if the impact of fully meeting the requirements is too much for an organisation to reasonably cope with. The accessibility regulations call this a ‘disproportionate burden’.  The webpage explains the assessment you need to conduct to evidence that making the changes would be a ‘disproportionate burden’.

The third stage requires you to go to the following webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sample-accessibility-statement

It provides a template to create an Accessibility Statement that you need to post on your website. The Council’s Accessibility Statement is here and demonstrates what content and points you should be considering to include in the Accessibility Statement for your website. It is  appreciated that the Council’s statement applies to a much larger and complex website but it hopefully should act as a guide to what you should need to be considering to include for your smaller scale website’s statement.

The Government’s Accessibility Community webpage at the link below should be able to assist with additional queries that you may have:

https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/communities/accessibility-community

EACC belongs to every Edinburgh Community Council

Its aim is to provide support, advise and give a collective voice for community councils when facing the challenges community councillors encounter on an almost daily basis. No one person is more important than any other. All community councils have a voice on the EACC!!