Find out how we're checking our websites for accessibility issues, and what we
consider to be a disproportionate burden.
West Suffolk Council is committed to meeting its legal obligations set out in
the The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility
However, we have a complex collection of websites and limited resources to
check them all for accessibility issues.
You can read our approach to checking our websites, and how we've assessed
what we consider a disproportionate burden.
Our approach to carrying out accessibility checks
We've looked at the various methods as set out in the GOV.UK guidance on
deciding how to check your websites.
Most of our websites are hosted in house, running on the same content
Most of them are developed from the same system but have some functionality
which is unique to that site. When an accessibility issue is discovered on one
site, the changes made to correct it can be copied across to the other websites.
We use Siteimprove
to do automated accessibility and quality control checks on
all of our websites on a weekly basis. These checks and following up on the
reports can be complex and can require extra capacity and time with limited
resources to take the correct action. We have to consider the effects of the
issues on visitors to our websites, and the time and costs it would take to
resolve each issue.
We are looking at paying for an outside organisation to audit the main West
Suffolk website, but due to its size and complexity there are costs involved.
We're planning a detailed accessibility check for:
the main West Suffolk Council website (https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk)
digital transactions, many of which are branded consistently with our main
site or hosted as a sub-domain, for example for example https://planning.westsuffolk.gov.uk
Our sample of transactions will include highly used services across different
corporate portals and platforms.
The process for doing a detailed check will include:
manual testing based on GOV.UK's guidance on doing a detailed
automated testing using accessibility monitoring software (Siteimprove)
We believe it is reasonable to carry out a detailed check for westsuffolk.gov.uk
and our digital transactions, as this covers the most important content provided
by West Suffolk Council.
Our Accessibility statement for West Suffolk Council websites
we found on our websites and our transactions, and our plans to fix them.
We carry out basic accessibility checks on West Suffolk Council websites every
time a page is updated.
We have a number of web content editors who are responsible for updating
content for their service. Their role includes making sure their pages are
accessible. Their updates then go through an approval process. This picks up
most accessibility, style and quality issues, but occasionally, due to limited
resources, time constraints and having to use some third-party systems, we
have to publish content which is not completely accessible. We are working with
the services and outside organisations to resolve this. Extra training and
guidance is available for web content editors and services.
Basic checks are carried out by the service responsible for their webpages on
each website, based on:
• automated accessibility monitoring software (Siteimprove), for which we already pay
• our own internally produced guidance
Services check content, which may include:
• their landing pages
• content pages that are mostly text based
• images, video and audio content
• interactive tools and transactions, like forms
• pages including login functionality, if the website has them
• PDFs and other document types they have
• dynamic content like pop-up windows
• navigation pages, including their sitemap and pages with search
Our Accessibility statement for West Suffolk Council websites
we found for our websites and our transactions, and our plans to fix them.
We have assessed that it would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning
of the accessibility regulations to pay an auditor to do a detailed check on our
entire collection of websites and third-party systems.
Our most important content and transactions are provided on our main website,
westsuffolk.gov.uk, and its associated portals and platforms. We're doing
detailed checks of these when pages are updated.
However, we do not believe the benefit of paying for detailed checks of our other
websites would justify the impact on our organisation.
Types of website
West Suffolk Council has 10 websites and an intranet and also hosts two
These sites cover a variety of purpose, size and content.
Some are hosted by our organisation; others are hosted and maintained by
external suppliers, and are managed and paid for by an individual council service
Most of our sites are relatively small in scale, usage and complexity, and do not
provide essential transactions.
(6 pages) (currently hosted externally)
(19 pages) (currently undergoing a major revamp)
(1,176 pages and around 8,000 documents)
(484 pages) (we work in partnership with Anglia
Revenues Partnership, and host their website).
(41 pages) (a partnership of Building
Control services across Suffolk)
Estimated cost of paying for detailed audits
At the moment we are investigating the costs of paying for an outside company
to audit our websites.
The main West Suffolk Council website, with over 1,000 webpages, and over
8,000 documents, is estimated to be between £6,500 and £26,000.
We have assessed the costs for an external expert to do a detailed check (and later
re-audit) on our full collection of 12 websites. This is assuming:
westsuffolk.gov.uk and our most essential digital transactions would cost
between £6,500 and £26,000 for a detailed audit
three other websites can be considered as ‘large’ and would cost between
£19,000 and £78,000 for detailed audits
the rest of our websites can be considered ‘small’ and would cost between
£10,400 and £31,200 for detailed audits.
The estimated cost to our organisation overall for detailed audits for all of our
websites would be between £35,900 and £135,200.
These costs are based on estimates from GOV.UK's guidance on deciding how to
check your website
and getting an accessibility audit.
• a third-party day rate of £1,300
• about 1 to 3 days to audit a small website
• about 5 to 20 days to audit a large website
Assessment of costs and benefits
We believe that:
1. The costs of paying for detailed checks for all of our websites would be a
disproportionate burden on our organisation
2. The benefit to users of paying for detailed checks on these websites would
not be justified
In reaching this decision, we have considered the following: Our organisation’s size and resources
West Suffolk Council is a local authority managing increasing front-line service
demands but reducing annual budgets.
The nature of our organisation
We do provide services aimed at people with a disability, but these are generally
included on our main website, westsuffolk.gov.uk, and associated transaction
platforms (which we're doing detailed checks of). How much a detailed check would cost and the impact that would
We believe the potential of paying up to £135,000 just on audits (before we've
actually fixed anything) is unreasonable.
We also have processes in place to check accessibility when web content editors
are updating the websites, and Siteimprove does weekly automated checks
which we act upon.
We believe that:
• maintaining statutory and essential front-line services should be
prioritised over paying for external website audits
• it would be reasonable within the meaning of the regulations for our
services to carry out basic checks of their websites, and use any available
budget to fix the main issues found on their sites
Our services will be assisted in their basic checks by:
• automated accessibility monitoring software (Siteimprove), for which we
already pay £3,000 annually
• internal guidance and support from the Communications Team (two of
who have specialist web content and user experience)
The Communications Team is a small team, and the scale of coordinating the
auditing and fixing of our main website and transactions leading up to 23
September 2020, in addition to their other essential functions, means they lack
the capacity to carry out a detailed audit of our other sites. Therefore, while this
would be a disproportionate burden we have put practices in place to mitigate
some of this including the above bullet points.
How much users with a disability would benefit from making
Our users will benefit from us making our websites accessible.
However, we do not believe that for the majority of our websites the extra
improvements that could be gained from paying for a detailed check would
justify the cost over doing a basic check internally.
Please note: While this assessment explains our corporate position on
disproportionate burden, some services may still choose to carry out a detailed
check themselves, or pay for one if they are able to budget for it.
This assessment was last updated on 17 January 2020.