European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, was approved on October 26, 2016. In this post we look at what Member States need to do to ensure that public sector bodies are complying with the Directive and how the Directive can be enforced?
What are the Responsibilities of Member States?
Member States are responsible for periodically monitoring the compliance of websites and apps for accessibility. Since the monitoring methodology should be harmonized across the Member States for the sake of uniformity, the Commission will establish a monitoring methodology by December 22, 2018.
Member States must inform the Commission which body will monitor compliance and report this to the Commission by September 22, 2018.
By December 22, 2021, and every three years afterwards, Member States must submit a report to the Commission that provides measurement data and other details on the monitoring. The report should include information on the use of the enforcement procedure discussed below.
The reports must be made public in an accessible format. The reports do not need to include the list of websites, apps, or entities examined.
Member States should also promote and facilitate training programs for digital accessibility for the staff of public sector bodies. These training programs should focus on the creation, management, and updating of accessible content for both websites and apps.
How is Compliance Enforced?
Member States need to have an effective enforcement procedure to guarantee compliance with the Directive. The Directive advises Member States to put an ombudsman in place to handle feedback and review the assessment. Member States must inform the Commission by September 22, 2018 which body is responsible for the enforcement of the Directive.
In addition, public sector bodies must adopt a feedback mechanism so that members of the public can contact the organization concerning failures to provide accessible content. The mechanism should also permit users to request content that has been excluded by the Directive. Public sector bodies should comply with any “legitimate and reasonable request” by providing accessible or alternative content “in an adequate and appropriate manner within a reasonable period of time.”
What Is Required in an Accessibility Statement?
Public sector bodies must have a “detailed, comprehensive, and clear accessibility statement” that provides compliance information. This statement must be regularly updated and provided in an accessible format.
The Commission will adopt a model accessibility statement by December 22, 2018.
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