The UK government’s new ‘eAccessibility Forum’ will address three key areas: improving the regulatory framework; supporting businesses; and developing an ‘e-accessibility action plan, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, told delegates at the recent E-Access ’10 event in London. The event was hosted by E-Access Bulletin publisher Headstar with the OneVoice Coalition for Accessible ICT.
The eAccessibility Forum was announced in the Digital Britain Act and is led by officials at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). On its first area of work, regulation, Vaizey said a consultation document would be published in September on the UK’s implementation of the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications in the European Union, amended in November of last year, which covers electronic accessibility. The UK is required to transpose the framework by the end of 2011, he said.
The forum’s eventual ‘e-accessibility action plan’ will cover both consumer technologies and website accessibility, Vaizey said. “[This] doesn’t necessarily mean by imposing regulations on bodies. It can be through partnership and persuasiveness as well and working together,” he said.
The minister was speaking the day after UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox launched her Manifesto for a Networked Nation which included the recommendation (in paragraph 9.2) that “Government should close down publicly funded websites that consistently fail to meet its own web accessibility guidelines.”
Note: Further in-depth coverage of E-Access ’10 will be featured in our August issue.