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accessibility regulations compliance mobile apps

Mobile apps and accessibility regulations: which apps are affected?

On 23rd June 2021, mobile apps will come within scope of the Public sector bodies websites and mobile applications accessibility regulations 2018. The regulations have been rolled out in stages and this date represents the final deadline.

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) monitors the implementation of accessibility regulations. Formerly, the team was part of Government Digital Services.

CDDO has been working on the detail around specifically which types of mobile apps are in scope. This has led to the guidance being updated. As a result, the number of mobile apps within scope of the accessibility regulations has narrowed.

To come within scope of accessibility regulations, a mobile app needs to meet both of the following two criteria:

1. Mobile apps designed and developed by or on behalf of a public sector body

CDDO believes apps are covered if the public sector body has influenced the development, whether bespoke for the organisation, feature development or selection, or branded for the organisation. Unbranded off-the-shelf apps that are used by the public sector are not covered by the accessibility regulations.

2. Mobile apps are for use by the general public

CDDO believes this means that apps for specific defined groups, such as employees or students, are not covered by the accessibility regulations. These would be covered if they were websites as intranets or extranets.

Apps that are not covered directly by the accessibility regulations are, of course, still covered by the Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty, and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which states that all technology that is procured in the public sector should be accessible.

Updates to the guidance will appear on the GOV.UK guidance page for websites and mobile apps.

Not sure if your app is in scope or how to test for accessibility? Join the discussion in our dedicated mobile apps channel in the accessibility community Teams space.

Many thanks to Chris Heathcote, Product manager, accessibility monitoring at Central Digital and Data Office, The Cabinet Office.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash.

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