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by Rebecca Hill and Jenni Davidson
17 June 2016
Scottish councils come out top the for the most accessible local authority websites

Scottish councils come out top the for the most accessible local authority websites

Better Connected - credit SOCITM

Scottish council websites have come out top for accessibility in a survey of local authority websites.

The Better Connected survey by SOCITM awarded 81 per cent of Scottish local authority sites an accessibility rating of good or very good.

Scottish councils also topped last year’s assessment, with 72 per cent gaining the top score.

The annual survey assesses local authorities’ provision of online services for disabled people.

The overall results for 2016 show a marked improvement from last year’s results, with 64 per cent of the 416 UK councils tested getting a rating of good or very good, compared with 43 per cent in 2015.

London borough councils came second behind the Scottish local authorities, increasing their score by 25 percentage points, with 70 per cent being ranked good or very good in 2016.

Northern Ireland district councils had the lowest 2016 score, with just 45 per cent getting a good or very good ranking.

However, the survey found that mobile accessibility lags significantly behind desktop.

The Better Connected survey discovered that although 80 per cent of UK council websites are now purposed for mobile use, just 46 per cent passed disabled accessibility tests carried out on mobiles.

This is compared with a pass rate of between 65 per cent and 71 per cent for websites accessed from a desktop.

The Digital Accessibility Centre, which carried out the test on behalf of SOCITM, ranked councils on how easy it is to perform certain tasks such as paying council tax online.

SOCITM said that the most common reasons for poor performance were the heading structure of the website, no visible links to skip irrelevant sections, poor labels or instructions and excess movement on pages.

In addition, the survey found that many issues encountered involved third party sites, with a “significant number” using these for council tax and around half using them for renewing library books.

The main issues for completing the test tasks on a mobile – which were finding the opening times for council tips and reporting missing bins – was a lack of sequential navigation, with illogical heading structures being another issue.

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