A close up of an example accessibility statement which focuses on the words "Known limitations", suggesting the website has failed to meet requirements because it is missing captions on images and videos do not have subtitles

New regulations have just come into force which means from next year, every new public sector website and app will need to meet certain accessibility standards and publish a statement saying they have been met. Existing websites will have until 2020 to comply.

The aim of the regulations is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.

The new regulations are called ‘The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018’. They are now law in the UK and implement the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications.

At the Government Digital Service (GDS), we’ve published guidance that will support organisations to meet the requirements and help make public sector websites more accessible. We also offer a range of support to help public sector websites become more accessible.

Here’s what public sector website owners will need to do and and how we’re supporting them:

The important dates

You’ll need to comply with the regulations from 23 September 2019. This is when it will start applying to new websites (those published after 22 September 2018). They come into force in 3 stages:

What’s covered Deadline to comply with the regulations
New public sector websites (published after 22 September 2018) 22 September 2019
All other public sector websites 22 September 2020
Public sector mobile applications 22 June 2021

The requirements will apply to all public sector bodies, although certain organisations and types of content may be exempt.

Even where you are exempt by these regulations all UK service providers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 (or, in Northern Ireland, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). Meeting accessibility standards is a way of proving that you’ve made reasonable adjustments.

What you need to do

There are 2 main requirements:

  • meet accessibility standards – this means making your website ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’ for all users – you can achieve this by making sure it meets the international accessibility standard, WCAG 2.1 or its European equivalent, EN301 549
  • publish an accessibility statement – this must be based on a template statement that will be provided by early 2019

How to do this and how GDS can help

Here are some steps you can take to meet the requirements and to make sure your website is as accessible as possible:

  1. Read the GDS guidance on what accessibility is and why you need to invest in it. This provides more detail on the key dates and what you need to do. It also provides links to resources that can help you.
  2. Ask fellow employees working on web content and digital products if they are preparing to comply with the regulations by September 2019. Make sure they are familiar with the guidance.
  3. Consider including accessibility as part of the contract evaluation when signing off on technology spend or procurement.  
  4. Make sure your organisation is aware of the responsibility to communicate the requirements to its associated agencies and bodies. If so, consider nominating an official to be accountable for this communication.
  5. Make sure there is expertise within your organisation by advocating for people to receive training in accessibility. GDS offers regular accessibility training which is open to anyone in central government. You can see dates and details on how to register on our events and training page.

Understanding accessibility

As well as providing guidance and support specifically relating to the regulations, GDS also offers other resources around accessibility.

This includes the cross-government accessibility community, which is open to everyone in central government regardless of whether you are in an accessibility-related role. The community is a place where you can get support, ask questions and share best practice.

We have an accessibility empathy lab at our London office, which features different technologies and software that people use to interact with online services.

And we have also put together a reading list on accessibility featuring advice, tips and case studies of people experiencing accessibility barriers.

Helping organisations meet the new regulations is just one part of our work to make public services accessible to all. We aim to make sure there are no online or offline barriers preventing people from accessing services they need to use.

Anthony Ilona is a policy engagement manager at GDS.

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Original source – Government Digital Service

In no particular order here are my thoughts on LocalGovCamp 2018.

As usual Nick Hill, put on another great event with help from other LocalGov Digital members. Although 2018 was probably the best attended LocalGovCamp I’ve been to, a noticeable trend since 2015 that became very apparent this year is that more people now come on Friday than Saturday.

There are many assumptions you can make from this. Perhaps digital and therefore LocalGov Digital has become more mainstream so is now seen as a legitimate work thing. We’ve certainly never had video address from a minster inviting attendees to apply to a £7.5m Local Digital Fund before.

Friday saw a wide variety of digital innovation workshops. I head more about how to apply for the Local Digital Fund, Jonathon Flowers provided an insight into why change is hard, and Esko Reinikainen spoke about network mapping and analysis.

It was also the second time this year I’ve attended a talk on something I had a major hand in creating. This time it was Nic Teeman‘s session on Pipeline, something I built in 2014 with Ben Cheetham; earlier in the year it was the LGDSS.

Saturday’s unconference sessions were excellent and all those I attended focused on people and organisational culture more than tech. Whilst tech isn’t easy, it’s getting easier, which can mean the gap between what’s possible and the culture that supports the status quo widens.

Councillors Neil Prior, John Reed, Julia Berry and others gave me a good insight into members’ attitudes to change, whist another session run by Jon Bell focused on apathy and resistance. Another session on discovery also helped me learn more about what a decent discovery phase should deliver.

Some of my favourite conversations were actually outside the event. One example how Brexit is personally affecting Esko Reinikainen. I really hope he doesn’t leave the UK. I don’t know him that well, but every encounter I’ve had with him has been thought provoking or amusing, and usually is a mixture of both.

Another was with Alex Coley and Martin Dainton, about many things including why we serve as members or officers in local government, and how the path of science and tech may radically change from the course we think it will take. For example, during the space race it was widely believed that by 2018 humankind would have visited Mars and beyond. With this in mind, will the advances in AI many predict actually happen?

We may see changes to the format of LocalGovCamp 2019, but as always they need to be based on user need, so please do complete the feedback form that’ll be published in the next couple of weeks, whether you attended or not.

Original source – Lg/Www

‘Internet of Public Service jobs’ is a weekly list of vacancies related to product management, user experience, data and design in…you guessed it…the ‘internet of public service’ curated by @jukesie every Sunday.

Sign up for the weekly email at tinyletter.com/jukesie

[01] Digital Programme Manager
Diabetes UK
£45000 — £48184
Closing date: 01/10/2018

[02] Head of Delivery
Citizens Advice
Closing date: 07/10/2018

[03] Head of Product
Citizens Advice
Closing date: 07/10/2018

[04] Head of Lab
Citizens Advice
Closing date: 07/10/2018

[05] Digital Product Manager
The Reader
£27,000 to £35,000
Closing date: 01/10/2018

[06] Product Manager
HM Land Registry
Coventry, Gloucester, Leicester, London, Nottingham or Plymouth
Closing date: 08/10/2018

[07] Executive Director
Datakind UK
Closing date: 30/09/2018

[08] Innovation Community Manager
Salary not stated
Closing date: 12/10/2108

[09] Head of Product — Healthcare
Salary not stated
Closing date: 01/10/2018

[10] Director of Digital
Surrey County Council
£90,470 — £112,161
Closing date: 12/10/2018

Internet of Public Service Jobs: 23/09/2018 was originally published in Product for the People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – Product for the People

A couple of Saturdays ago, still buzzing from a week of NHS website and service manual launches, and the NHS Expo, I took part in my first UK Health Camp.

I learned loads, put faces to names I’d long followed from afar, and posed a question of my own to a windowless basement room full of thoughtful healthcampers: “What do people need to be able to trust a digital health service?”

Trust session at UK Healthcamp

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot, because the fifth of our new NHS design principles is “Design for trust”.

I ran the session as a loose variant of the 1-2-4-all liberating structure. Asking people to think about the question first as individuals, then in growing groups, the format was a great way of eliciting contributions from everyone in the room, then distilling down to some common themes.

At the end of the session, I left the room with a stack of sticky notes on which I had scribbled the key themes as groups reported back. Below is a summary with my own grouping and interpretation of the themes after the event.

The weighing of trust starts before we use a service – when we’re evaluate it to see if it’s going to meet our needs.

A few groups in the session talked about relevance: will it help me achieve what I need to do? To be relevant, a digital service will likely have to be part of an end-to-end journey, quite possibly including both digital and non-digital elements. Even in this digital world, having an offline presence is one of the things that can give service credibility.

Once we believe a service might be useful, the next question, not far behind, is “has it been tested – for safety, practicality, and effectiveness?”

We trust things that come recommended by people we trust. Reputation matters, especially when expressed through peer recommendation. We make decisions about services in a web of relationships; a service will be more trusted if it is “culturally embedded”. In the context of British healthcare, there’s nothing more culturally embedded than the NHS brand.

To earn trust fully, there are things a service has to demonstrate in use.

Is it confidential? People set high standards for data protection, security and privacy. A service shouldn’t collect data it doesn’t need, and be totally anonymous when you need it to be.

It is personal? Provided confidentiality is assured, one of the ways a service can gain credibility is by showing information that only it should know. While anonymity is sometimes necessary, so too can be personalisation.

Is it transparent? Transparency of intent and clarity of operation are essential for any digital health service. Why is it asking me this? How did it get to that answer?

It is professional? The boring qualities of stability, reliability and consistency should not be underrated. If they go missing, trust in a service will be rapidly undermined.

Finally, there’s a quality of continuous improvement without which any trust gained is likely to be short-lived. Does the service take feedback? Is it accountable for its actions? Can you see in its present state the traces of past user feedback? “You said… we did…”

Those were the combined ideas of a self-selecting group one Saturday in Manchester. But tell me what you’d add? What would you need to be able to trust a digital health service?

Original source – Matt Edgar writes here

🚨 SPOILERS—Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen the latest Avengers film! 🚨

Before Chadwick Boseman, before Chris Hemsworth – before even Robert Downey Junior, comic books and superheroes were the exclusive domain of nerds. In these dark days, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is everywhere, with millions of people now in a position to argue about whether the Hulk could beat Thor in a fight – even if the nerds still rule supreme.

The MCU has reached its climax with 2018’s Infinity War. In it, the villain of the piece, Thanos, is attempting to collect all six infinity stones in order to destroy half of all life in the Universe, in order to bring balance. At the end of the movie – and again, spoiler alert – Thanos has won, and half of the universe are dead. As fans of randomised trials, his allocation mechanism – who lives, who dies – is particularly interesting to us here at the Behavioural Insights Team.

Now, Thanos’ actions are based on the questionable doctrine of Malthus – that overpopulation is a problem that will require extinction at a Universal scale. To prevent this, he wants to kill half the population, but to do so in a fair way, killing people at random.

Obviously, we applaud the use of random assignment, even if we find the intervention to be a little extreme in this case. At the risk of sticking our heads in the Titan’s mouth, however, we do think he might have considered a different strategy.

At the end of the movie, the original Avengers all remain alive, while almost all of the other heroes are dead. This looks like a case of randomisation failure. Using 538’s calculations of the relative strength of different heroes, we see evidence of this – as shown in the figure below, the probability of winning a fight against another hero is 45% higher for the survivors than those who perish (p=0.2).*

The survivorship rate of more powerful heroes might be troubling for whatever outcome it is that Thanos’ is looking to measure. Life, as they say, finds a way – and leaving so many powerful heroes alive, especially ones with a pre-existing team dynamic – seems like it could be ruinous to him in Infinity War Part II (due for release next year).

Taking this randomisation at face value, it seems like the most likely explanation is that Thanos simply got unlucky with his randomisation, which can happen in any sample with a small number of outliers. To find out just how unlucky he was, we ran 1000 simulations of random assignment of the heroes that are still alive before Thanos snaps his fingers (and for whom assignment is observed), into two groups with equal probability, and then measure the proportion of the original Avengers who remain alive in each – which is shown in the plot blow – we find about a 1.6% chance of all Avengers surviving.

So, Thanos got pretty unlucky to have them all alive – something he could have avoided if he’d stratified on whether individuals were the member of a small but pretty influential group.** All this goes to show – infinite power to command time and space is nothing without a good trial design.

*The list of heroes analysed by 538 isn’t exhaustive, and only contains 14 heroes. One important omission from an Infinity War standpoint is Dr Stephen Strange, a master of the mystic arts.

**Skeptics of this argument on twitter suggest that we’re fixating on a salient but statistically irrelevant group. However, given that the Avengers foiled Thanos’ attempts to recover the infinity stones, in so doing costing him one that he already possessed, we argue that their importance could have been forecast ex ante. Plus, they have a Hulk.

Original source – Behavioural Insights Team

I’m running a free coding course via Code First: Girls in our digital hub in Leeds.

It’s really exciting to be able to do this, as Code First: Girls is a not-for-profit social enterprise which aims at increasing the number of women in tech.

I’m Simone Duca, a Senior Frontend Developer at DWP Digital. I’ve been in this role only for a few months, but I’ve already been impressed by the amount of opportunities it offers.

Simone Duca, DWP Digital

Simone Duca, DWP Digital

Gender diversity is still a challenge in the digital industry

Research shows the industry has a challenge with gender diversity and that’s been the case for decades. With tech jobs in ever increasing demand, not having women in tech roles, not only excludes around half of our population from self-fulfilling and well-paid jobs, but it also removes women from being decision makers in key global industries. I believe every professional working in this field should commit to help fixing that.

Learn the basics of web development in a hands-on environment

The course I will be leading from October for 8 weeks will cover some of the basics of web development, i.e. HTML, CSS and Javascript, version control and hosting. The course will be very much hands on, always with an instructor at hand to help.

Students will be working on designing, building and publishing their website, on the backdrop of a competition. The winning project will be announced at the end of the course and will receive Amazon vouchers. All students will get a certificate.

Learn basic web development skills with Code First: Girls at DWP Digital in Leeds

Learn basic web development skills with Code First: Girls at DWP Digital in Leeds

I’ve run courses of this kind in my previous jobs with another community called Codebar. My experience in volunteering my skills for developing a community of new tech experts has been great and I’m really looking forward to carry on doing it within DWP Digital.

So, if you’re interested and you meet Code First: Girls eligibility criteria, you can apply online. Applications close on October 7th.


Original source – DWP Digital

The debate about technology and ethics has recently taken on a new intensity in media and policy circles. Teenagers’ use of smartphones and social media, and the impact on their mental health and wellbeing, is rarely out of the news.

This debate, however, often paints an over-simplified and sensationalised picture. Teenagers’ use of technology is viewed in terms of the dangers of addiction (for example, cyber-bullying, sexting, and ‘stranger danger’), and proposed solutions oscillate between the unrealistic (banning technologies) to the inadequate (subtle privacy setting tweaks).

In part, this narrow focus has been because teenagers’ voices in the debate have largely been edited or ignored. We wanted to redress this imbalance. In partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, we held a two-day citizens’ jury and design sprint mash-up called the #NoFilter Forum.

#NoFilter Forum from BIT Sydney on Vimeo.

We brought together 61 young people, aged between 12 and 16, to debate and design solutions that help them make good choices in an online world. The two days was full of lively discussion, fresh ideas and at times confronting honesty, and resulted in a series of practical ‘asks’ for parents, schools, peers and the tech industry.

We are incredibly grateful to the young people who offered us a window into their world. And using what they taught and told us, we have designed a series of interventions that we now plan to trial over the coming months:

  • Formative Conversations – sparking conversations between parents and their children about a range of challenging ethical issues, ranging from peer pressure to pornography.
  • Controlling the Online Environment – helping young people reflect on their relationship with technology and specific apps, and then make practical changes to their online environment.
  • Social Compass – tackling the question that young people ask a lot but rarely get a good answer to: how can they handle complex online conflicts without things getting out of hand?

The #No Filter Forum underlined that there is currently a gap for such solutions, which bring young people’s ethical development to the fore, rather than narrowly focusing on reducing cyber-risks. In the process, we also hope to create evidence that can contribute to the wider debate,  and hold the tech industry more accountable for the ethical and psychological effects of their products.

For more information email: Erin.Howard@bi.team

With thanks to the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and our fellow CODE team members: Edward Bradon, Nicky Quinn, Min-Taec Kim, and Zoe Powell.

Original source – Behavioural Insights Team

The Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Fast Stream has been running for 4 years now. Our fast streamers work in an unparalleled range of roles from enabling businesses to trade, to improving access to justice, protecting us from cyber attacks and safeguarding our environment.

We also help those who need support – including society’s most vulnerable people – so our work is really important.

Choosing the right technology for these services can be life changing for millions of people.

So the public sector needs leaders who get technology. It needs people who are passionate about applying digital tools to public problems and people who understand the potential of technology across and beyond government.

Our leaders should also reflect the diversity of the public that we serve, and this year we climbed into the top 10 of the Social Mobility Employer Index.

Now’s your chance to join us and make a difference because the DDaT Fast Stream has just started accepting applications for its next round.

It’s a 4 year programme open to graduates and current civil servants, designed to grow future leaders across government.

What you will do

Some of the DDaT fast streamers

Currently ranked number 2 in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, the Fast Stream is a fantastic opportunity to get your career off to a flying start.

We give fast streamers the opportunity to work across many government departments and a variety of different public sector organisations.

They undertake 6 different roles over the 4 years, developing essential digital, data and technology skills as well as a broad range of experience and training that’s vital for senior leaders in the Civil Service.

This training may include learning about emerging technologies and agile methodologies at the GDS Academy, data analytics with the Office of National Statistics, cyber security techniques, or learning how to code. Throughout the programme you’ll be learning from brilliant and talented colleagues and mentors.

Over the past 4 years, the scope of the DDaT Fast Stream has continuously adapted to meet the needs of digital government.

Earlier this year we introduced a new learning programme for final year fast streamers. It includes a residential course at Cranfield University focused on leadership, policy, technology, strategy and performance – alongside a competition to attend a major technology conference in the US or the UK.

Crossing borders

This month we led a team of 11 fast streamers on a week long programme of activities in the US, including attending TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018.

We met with innovative technology companies to learn about their ways of working and emerging technologies. Some of these new technologies will become commonplace, such as linking medical devices with doctors and patients so that remote diagnosis and intervention can occur.  

Also on the agenda was meeting the British Consulate’s technology team to discuss how they work with British companies seeking to gain access to the US tech sector.

We also met the GBX community – British expats who are tech investors, executives and coaches. They shared insights into the San Francisco technology environment including the corporate, investment and social culture underpinning it.

We ended the trip with a visit to the San Francisco State Government to discuss its digital service programmes and the Civic Bridge project, where it partners with industry volunteers to work on social problems.

It was a valuable opportunity for our fast streamers to develop their knowledge and bring it back to the UK government.

Sinéad Krzyzyk, who was part of the group, said learning about a different side of the technology industry would help her engage with business stakeholders and allow her to “take back the best parts of that world” into her department.

“It was really useful for understanding emerging technology and seeing where we could solve government problems with innovative solutions," she added.

The DDaT Fast Stream is an opportunity to be a part of something which matters: applying technology to help build a better and safer society that is easier for people to navigate.

As technology continues to develop and new ideas generate a world of possibilities, businesses are ever increasingly becoming technology organisations.

Being on the DDaT Fast Stream will give you essential skills, unique experiences and the best possible start to your career.

And at the same time, you can help make the UK a better place.

Iain Boyd manages the DDaT Fast Stream programme. You can follow him on Twitter @iain_boyd

Applications for the DDaT Fast Stream are open until 25 October 2018.

You can ask Iain a question during the Fast Stream Facebook Live Q&A on 25 September from 12 to 1pm. There will also be a Twitter Q&A in early October – follow @DigiCareersGov for updates.

Subscribe for blog updates.

Original source – Government Digital Service

One of the best things about the Civil Service is our diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies. As the largest government department the DWP is committed to bringing about real change in the D&I space.

I’m Rachel, DWPride’s Communications Lead. DWPride is the LGBT* network for DWP colleagues, it’s a voluntary role – one that I took on because I strongly believe that we should be able to work in an environment that’s inclusive to everybody.

My day job is on the DWP Digital Talent Marketing Team, where I’m a content writer promoting our organisation as a great place to work. And, being a D&I champion, I want to help create an inclusive environment for LGBT* colleagues and our customers.

OneTeamGov partnership

Having followed the social media buzz about OneTeamGov, I thought that our objectives were a great fit with their principles. I connected with some of the organisers, as it seemed like the perfect platform for a cross-government event. Luckily the OneTeamGov community agreed!

An event for the LGBT* community

Working with my DWPride network colleagues I’m helping to bring together a team of volunteers to shape, what is set to be, a valuable event in Manchester on 11 October to coincide with National Coming Out day.

The themes for the day are around sharing best practice and practical actions. We’ve got an amazing line up of speakers and interactive break-out sessions planned, bringing together a range of colleagues from LGBT* networks across the Civil Service, government and beyond.

The event will take place so this will be a fantastic opportunity to show our solidarity, make pledges and spread our message.

An inclusive environment for LGBT* champions

We’re working closely with other Civil Service departments as well as charities like Stonewall to share best practice and learn from each other. The LGBT* agenda doesn’t sit in isolation, so it’s important that we consider important D&I topics such as intersectionality, understanding policies and creating allies.

We’re aiming to raise awareness and education levels of LGBT* issues to help us to be ‘one Civil Service’ working through the challenges together. But it’s not only about that, it’s about camaraderie and providing the champions and leads across government with the opportunity to network, collaborate and help one another in their role as an LGBT* champion.

It’s about forming new relationships so that we can pick up the phone to our counterpart in another department for help and advice, and it’s about making things better in the future. By bringing together the champions and leads from across government we can build on our commitment to make a difference and move towards our goal of becoming the UK’s most inclusive employer.

Join us

If you’re an LGBT* champion in government and would be interested in coming along, we still have a few spaces remaining so register for a place now.

You can find out more about what’s happening in DWP Digital by subscribing to this blog and following us on Twitter @DWPDigital. Visit our DWP Digital Careers website and have a look at our LinkedIn page.

Original source – DWP Digital

Making significant, sustainable change happen across an organisation is hard. People in your organisation need to feel and see positive change for transformation to succeed. Working across the public sector, we’ve found that making changes to the common tools used by staff is a change that everyone can easily start to feel.

Making change feel positively different

We know that using open and/or web-based tools like Google Drive and Slack can have a large impact in shaping new ways of working and breaking down the silos inside an organisation while being cost and time effective. Ultimately, a low cost and relatively easy way to make the start of change felt fast.

Deploying new tools and ways of working across entire parts of government is still relatively unusual. There are plenty of examples of people working in digital government frustrated by the security blockers preventing the use of such tools and mindsets that seem less than digital.

The reality is that teams end up using tools unofficially and without the permission they need to get their best work done with the flexibility to collaborate and enable better communication across teams. Overall, this impacts the adoption of new ways of working across organisations and means any use of new tools is usually limited to individuals and smaller, siloed teams.

There are already success stories elsewhere in government. Paul Shelter shared how the first thing prioritised for internal IT at the DTO in Australia was to get everyone on Google Drive and Slack so they could collaborate in real time. In the UK, the Government Digital Service set up similar tools early on to make sure fast, open communication and strong collaboration was a standard to which they would build all future ways of working. Despite the example of GDS in the UK, most government departments haven’t followed this example.

Deploying Slack at Homes England

FutureGov is currently working on a digital transformation programme with Homes England, equipping them with the tools and capabilities needed to transform the culture and position the agency as an exemplar of government in the 21st century.

Over the last four months, we’ve worked on a number of discoveries to help determine the direction of work needed across the agency, including improving employee experience to keep people informed and engaged. As part of setting up a new structure for Homes England Digital, we’ve been able to put a pilot in place to get digital tools like Harvest & Forecast, Slack and Trello implemented. Slack’s 2-factor authentication and supported with an introduction guide for everyone as part of signing up, helped to make sure the usage of the tool was clear, as well as meeting the needs of security and data protection.

The ease of use of these tools has meant they are being quickly adopted encouraging a number of other areas around the organisation to get on board as they see the benefits. This is still a trial period, but initial signs are that this is a huge step forward.

There’s now over 25% of staff at Homes England on Slack. It’s been remarkable to see the use of the platform starting to go viral, with new channels being created, new connections and most of the conversations happening in the open.

Homes England shows what is possible with the right mindset and priorities in a transformation programme. It’s enabling staff to communicate and work more efficiently, and, most importantly it’s a positive change that everyone is feeling.

The significance of change that everyone can feel was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – FutureGov