Kent Digital Inclusion Initiative has been recognised with an iESE certificate of excellence 2019
The certificate recognises the wide-ranging partnership and collective commitment to accessibility between the University and Kent local authorities.
The certificate follows an award of £20,000 Local Government Association (LGA) funding last month (September) for an Initiative-led project to embed digital accessibility and productivity skills training in the wider community.
The University has been working in partnership with Kent Connects (a partnership of Local Authorities across Kent) and Kent County Council (KCC) for the past year. The aim has been to align key strategies around meeting the requirements of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018) with a single approach to Accessibility Statements, training, procurement, auditing and use of assistive technologies within both organisations.
The partnership work has been led by George Rhodes and James Church from KCC and Ben Watson from University of Kent Student Support and Wellbeing.
The value of this type of cross-sector working includes sharing and learning from different experiences and skills. Through the shared expertise of the two leading organisations, an initial plan of deliverables was devised focusing on:
- Shared resources for improving accessibility made available to all partners
- Awareness raising through conferences and training for staff
- Engagement with a variety of partners that cover diverse services including Libraries and the NHS
- Engagement with central government to represent the concerns of our sectors and to work together to agree common sense approaches to new regulations.
Kent Accessibility Statements
Among results so far have been an accessibility statement published by both KCC and the University – an easier-to-read guide to getting the best from our sites, as well as advice on potential accessibility issues.
The University and KCC were among the first public sector organisations to publish these statements using the new model and our collective statements had over 9,000 hits between June and September 2019. Lessons learnt from publishing the statements were also shared with the Government Digital Service (GDS) which informed the development of their subsequent guidance.
Digital Accessibility Toolkit
All of the Kent Digital Accessibility Initiative’s collective knowledge has now been published in the nationally distributed LexDis Digital Accessibility Toolkit.
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