Public body IT systems must meet disability regulations

Public authorities have been warned they must ensure new IT systems are suitable for use by disabled staff under new Disability Discrimination Act regulations.

Public authorities have been warned they must ensure new IT systems are suitable for use by disabled staff under new Disability Discrimination Act regulations.

The Disability Rights Council (DRC) has warned authorities that they must fulfil new duties towards disabled people under a clause that came into effect on 4 December.

All public bodies now have a duty to consider the needs of disabled people when planning services and most are also required to publish a Disability Equality Scheme, with an action plan drawn up with the involvement of disabled people.

Guidance on the new “disability equality duty” produced by the DRC specifically highlights IT procurement as an area where authorities must take disabled people’s needs into account.

“A government department that is planning to procure a new IT system should ensure that its action plan includes the work it will do to ensure that the new system is suitable for use by disabled employees,” it says.

“The action plan should also indicate the way it will develop the specification so that the system delivers the right products for disabled customers.”

As an example, the guidance suggests this could include ensuring that systems print out forms or letters in large print for people who are blind or partially sighted.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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