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One Voice calls for manifesto pledges on accessibility

One Voice calls for manifesto pledges on accessibility

One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition has launched a campaign to persuade political parties to add pledges to their 2015 election manifestos to improve accessibility to digital technologies.

The campaign calls for all political parties to include the following statement in their manifestos:

We will review anti-discrimination laws, guidelines and standards to see how access to digital services by disabled and older people can be enhanced and promoted in the digital age.

The Coalition is an umbrella group of bodies including BATA, Leonard Cheshire Disability; BT; Middlesex University and Barclays Bank.

“I see the support of the next government it as crucial to the progress of inclusion and accessibility in the UK. We simply cannot afford to waste the talents of any of our people by excluding them – for their sakes and ours,” Andy Heath, a consultant on digital accessibility and One Voice council member.

Although many standards for digital accessibility already exist such as BS8878, there is a lack of awareness, compliance and enforcement of these standards, says One Voice.

Efforts by charities to take or support legal action have been thwarted because defendants have settled out of court. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has powers in this area, has issued little guidance and carried out little enforcement work in the field of digital accessibility, One Voice says.

“Given the government’s move to offer many of its services in future as 'Digital by Default', the issue of accessibility is vital to ensure that old, vulnerable and disabled people are not marginalised, or routinely served in a different way from other people,” argues Dan Jellinek, who is leading the campaign for One Voice.

Digital exclusion makes bad sense for our fragile economy, Jellinek points out, it is vital for growth to ensure everyone can access goods and services; learn new skills; and have the opportunity to work.

For further information contact Dan Jellinek at dan@headstar.com or call 07748 988092