This post is the fifth in a seven-part series that provides updates on the current status of accessibility in the European Union and across individual countries in the Union. We welcome any comments, thoughts and corrections on the posts with the goal of helping of ensure the best information possible to our partners and customers.

Preceding posts in this series are as follows:

The Italian federal law Law 9, January 2004, n. 4g also known as The Disposizioni per favorire l’accesso dei soggetti disabili agli strumenti informatici or Provisions to support the access to information technologies for the disabled, addresses accessibility considerations in Italy. The act is commonly known as the “Stanca Act” after Lucio Stanca, who served as the Minister for Innovation and Technologies at the time of the act’s passage.

The Stanca Act states that the government protects each person’s right to access all sources of information and services independent of disability. The law clarifies and extends the rights of disabled to access public services via the Internet in line with the principles of equality established in Article 3 of the Italian Constitution.

The Stanca Act applies to public sector organizations, regional municipal companies, public assistance and rehabilitation agencies and ICT services contractors working with public agencies. The provisions of the law does not apply to private sector organizations, except those in the transport or telecom sector that have partial government ownership. At the national level, the implementation of the law is monitored by the Department for Innovation and Technology; at the regional, provincial and municipality levels, each organization is responsible for overseeing their own implementation of the Act.

Initially, the Stanca Act required that covered web sites provide accessibility in line with the recommendations of the European Union – specifically WCAG 1.0. As part of the Stanca Act, the Minister for Innovation and Technologies was directed to provide detailed guidelines that describe the technical requirements, different levels of accessibility and technical methodologies to verify the accessibility of Internet websites. These standards were established in the Ministerial Decree July 8, 2005, which defined technical requirements and different levels of accessibility of computer tools. These standards were published in Official Gazette n. 183 on August 8, 2005. The standards broadly utilize WCAG 1.0 A and Section 508 requirements as a baseline to define the level of accessibility required for public facing web sites, software applications, operating system and self service machines – broadly the same set of technologies covered by Section 508.

The Italian federal government provides a variety of resources for implementing accessibility as part of the Pubbliaccesso web site. This site is maintained by the CNIPA, which is a central government coordinating body for IT issues. The Pubbliaccesso site includes a variety of resources on developing and deploying accessible web sites. Pubbliaccesso also includes the official list of Stanca Act auditors that can issue certifications on accessibility with respect to the Stanca Act requirements.