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Local authority websites fail to meet accessibility standards

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Forty percent of local authority websites are not accessible to people with disabilities, a survey has found.

The report from accessibility monitor Better Connected comes ahead of an EU directive on accessibility due to take effect in September next year.

The new rules aim to ensure that all public sector websites are accessible. Some councils may already be in breach of the Equality Act 2010, Better Connected said.

The survey, which analysed 270 local authority websites, found that accessibility had decreased since last year, when 65% of websites passed the test.

This year, the main problems identified were lack of visible focus indicators on homepages; absence of skip links, which allow screen readers to bypass repetitive content; and lack of context for links – for example, terms like “click here” or “more”, which make it harder for users with visual impairments to navigate a website.

Testing was carried out for Better Connected by the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC), using a combination of automated tools and manual testing. All DAC testers have some form of impairment.

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