Warning on Web Site Accessibility
For Disabled

The first independent web site audit consultancy, set up to examine web sites' compliance to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), has warned that the web sites of corporate Britain still fail to comply with the Act, nine years after it was passed.

The warning from Alpha Squared Solutions, formerly a quality and information security management consultancy, comes just before Part 3 of the Act comes into effect in October 2004. The existing Section 19 of the Act makes it unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person. Part 3 will strengthen the existing legislation and remove the exemption for organisations with less than 15 staff.
The Disability Rights Commission is responsible for taking legal action on behalf of individuals who feel they have been discriminated against as a result of inaccessible web sites. But despite this, random checks of leading high street banks, travel companies and shops show that few comply with the DDA.

"Organisations that do not comply are missing a trick," says Alpha Squared managing director Rhona Aylward. "Not only will they fall foul of the law, but they are missing out on a marketplace of 8.6 million individuals with an annual spending power of £50 billion."

"Booking a holiday, doing the weekly shopping, managing the bank account can so easily be taken for granted by most of us, but open up a whole new world for the disabled given proper access," she adds. .