Regulation Exemptions

There are a number of exemptions, both in terms of organisations affected and content, when it comes to the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018. These should be very carefully reviewed as many exceptions only partially reduce an obligation. Where there are comprehensive exemptions to the regulations content may still greatly benefit from being made accessible and would still be an ethical obligation if not a legal one.

These Regulations do not apply to the following content of a website or mobile application of a public sector body:

  1. office file formats published before 23rd September 2018, unless such content is needed for active administrative processes relating to the tasks performed by the public sector body;
  2. pre-recorded time-based media published before 23rd September 2020;
  3. live time-based media;
  4. online maps and mapping services, as long as essential information is provided in an accessible digital manner for maps intended for navigational use;
  5. third-party content that is neither funded nor developed by, nor under the control of, the public sector body;
  6. reproductions of items in heritage collections that cannot be made fully accessible because of either—
    1. the incompatibility of the accessibility requirement with either the preservation of the item concerned or the authenticity of the reproduction; or
    2. the unavailability of automated and cost-efficient solutions that would easily extract the text of manuscripts or other items in heritage collections and transform it into content compatible with the accessibility requirement;
  7. content of extranets and intranets published before 23rd September 2019, until such websites undergo a substantial revision (this item I would suggest requires further clarification on the exemption, as currently no definitive explanation of a substantial revision exists. Item discussed in further detail in section 3.6 Virtual Learning Environments); and
  8. content of websites and mobile applications qualifying as archives.

These Regulations do not apply to a website or mobile application of:

  1. public service broadcasters and their subsidiaries, and of other bodies or their subsidiaries fulfilling a public service broadcasting remit;
  2. non-governmental organisations, unless they provide services that—
    1. are essential to the public (In our opinion this means organisations such as Universities, Public Transport provides etc.); or
    2. specifically address the needs of, or are meant for, persons with disabilities; and
  3. schools or nurseries, except for the content of their websites or mobile applications relating to essential online administrative functions. (NOTE: this exemption is contested regularly, be aware that to deliver an accessible administrative process, not only your process content on the web page needs to be accessible, but to navigate to and through the content your platform as a whole, should be accessible. Therefore, the exemption of schools in our opinion only actually exempts non administrative user generated content, but does not exempt administrative process content or the platform. Therefore all schools still have a requirement to complete accessibility compliance work within the timelines of the regulations.)