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Online Accessibility Action Plan

The Attorney-General's Department delivers programs and policies to maintain and improve Australia's law and justice framework, and strengthen our national security and emergency management. Through the Australian Government Solicitor, we also provide legal services to the Commonwealth (including legal advice and representation). Our department is the central policy and coordinating element of the Attorney-General's portfolio, for which the Attorney-General, and Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism are responsible.​

This Online Accessibility Action Plan (Plan) outlines departmental initiatives for eliminating disability-based discrimination in the department’s online information and services. It is also a public statement of the department’s commitment to meeting its accessibility-based legislative and policy obligations

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 supports, and the Australian Human Rights Commission encourages, the development and implementation of action plans for eliminating disability-based discrimination. The Disability Discrimination Act encourages providers to assess services and programs and address any barriers to accessibility. 1

In 2009, the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board endorsed the Australian Government’s transition to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0.  Australian Government websites must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA and develop and publish an Online Accessibility Action Plan. The department’s Disability Action Plan and Information Publication Scheme are partner documents to this plan.

Part A: Objectives

Introduction

Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of making online information accessible and usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. The department aims to have websites that are appropriately designed, developed and edited, so all users can have equal access to information and functionality. The department’s objective is to remove barriers to accessing online information and services, for the department’s internal and public-facing websites and services.

Policies and processes

The department regularly reviews its information management and governance policies to maintain their currency. Accessibility requirements are included in these documents where necessary. Accessibility requirements are also built into decision making when purchasing or implementing new technologies

Planning and prioritisation

To ensure the accessibility of all the department’s online information and services requires significant investment of time, finances, and resources. The department has a well-considered approach to prioritise where to invest its efforts in an increasingly constrained environment. To this end the department is:

  • establishing an Information Asset Register, which documents all information repositories
  • redeveloping the AGD intranet and has already redeveloped the AGD website
  • continually testing new and existing websites for WCAG 2.0 compliance
  • improving the governance of its online websites and applications.

Scope

This plan applies to all sites outlined in Part H: Websites. Another plan will be developed focusing on applications, both developed in-house and procured off-the-shelf products.

Part B: Communications

The department has put in place a suite of communications strategies and training courses to raise awareness of web accessibility. It is communicating accessibility issues and concerns through:

  • accessibility training
  • writing for the web training
  • accessibility baseline testing information sessions
  • engaging outside contractors with accessibility expertise
  • ensuring Information Services (Web) staff have the skills required to implement the National Transition Strategy
  • providing information and news stories on the Intranet for staff.

Part C: Review of existing practices

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 sets out the mandatory requirements for action plans, including how to review procedures to identify any discriminatory practices. In the context of online information and services, this means reviewing online information and services to identify any accessibility issues.

Departmental staff have attended training to develop the skills to carry out conformance testing. The department is now able to do this work to ensure it is meeting its policy and legislative obligations. These obligations define the practical outcomes the department is seeking to achieve.

Part D: Our obligations

Legislative obligations

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Policy obligations

  • Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy
  • National Disability Strategy
  • Digital Transition Policy and open public sector information

Part E: Goals and targets

Current actions

Raising awareness of web accessibility

  1. All staff who provide content for publication online, have a basic understanding of web accessibility through attending Writing for the Web training and accessibility information sessions.
  2. Online publishing guidelines are consistent with WCAG 2.0. and online accessibility is included in policies and procedures relating to publication of content online.
  3. The Information Services Section and the Office of the Chief Information Officer undertake ongoing monitoring of accessibility.

Current online content

  1. All content submitted for publication is evaluated by staff in Information Services section to ensure it complies with WCAG 2.0.
  2. Content that cannot be made compliant is noted and ongoing attempts are made to rectify it.
  3. Online presences are regularly audited to identify issues and schedule for remediation.

Development of new sites and applications

  1. Every effort is made to ensure that new sites and applications comply with WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
  2. Any omissions are duly recorded and genuine efforts are made to rectify issues.
  3. Accessibility requirements are identified early in the design process.
  4. Errors found in audits and testing are remediated where possible.
  5. Where possible users of assistive technologies are included in testing.
  6. External developers are made accountable for implementing the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.

Maintaining accessibility of web content

  1. Accessibility level of content is monitored and maintained, mainly by the Information Services and Strategic Communication sections.
  2. Developers and content authors provide accessible content for publication online.

Training developers and content authors

  1. Developers are trained in accessibility.
  2. Information Services staff are trained in accessibility and maintain a high awareness of WCAG 2.0 guidelines and the National Transition Strategy.
  3. Content authors are encouraged to complete the Writing for the Web and Accessibility Awareness training courses.

Procuring new products for the online environment

  1. Procurement documentation relating to any online product includes web accessibility criteria.

Managing accessibility of web content in third party products

  1. Where possible, ensure internal third party applications meet minimum Level A requirements.
  2. Document where issues still exist and provide alternatives for assistive technology users.
  3. Developers implementing third party products know how to maximise conformance of their products.

Publishing documents online

  1. Documents published online are provided in multiple formats.
  2. Effort is made to ensure PDF documents are tagged correctly.

Publishing multimedia online

  1. Audio content is accessible to users with hearing impairments.
  2. Video content is accessible to users with visual and/or hearing impairments.
  3. Audio-visual content is accessible to users with other disabilities.

Addressing accessibility feedback, requests and complaints

  1. All web content can be used by people with disabilities.
  2. Staff with online publishing responsibilities recognise accessibility issues.
  3. Staff act on accessibility-related user complaints, requests and questions in a timely manner.
  4. Users can request an accessible format of inaccessible content.
  5. It is clear who should be contacted for an accessibility issue.

Monitoring the implementation of the action plan

  1. The plan is reviewed by the Information Services Section.

Part F: Evaluation

The evaluation of the effectiveness of the initiatives described in this plan will be primarily through business-as-usual processes.

The Information Services Section will monitor the department’s conformance against the various whole-of-government policy requirements (e.g. the National Transition Strategy, the Digital Transition Policy and the Information Publication Scheme). They will also manage the creation of the Information Assets Register.

Part G: Implementing this action plan

Roles and responsibilities

Ensuring this plan is implemented successfully requires a collaborative effort between several areas within the department. The following areas all have a role to play in ensuring the accessibility of our online sites:

  • Deputy Secretary, Strategic Operations and Coordination Group (Disability Champion for the department)
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Information Services Section
  • Business Systems Section
  • The Learning, Leadership and Diversity Team
  • Justice and Corporate Communication Section
  • Design and Publications Section
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Disability Action Plan Working Group.

Part H: Websites covered by the plan

The following sites are included as part of this action plan:

External

  1. Administrative Review Council
  2. Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
  3. Attorney-General
  4. Attorney-General’s Department
  5. CERT
  6. Defence Abuse Response Taskforce
  7. Disaster Assist
  8. Document Verification Service
  9. Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program
  10. Living Safe Together
  11. Minister for Justice
  12. National Security
  13. Organisational Resilience
  14. Protective Security Policy Framework
  15. Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption
  16. Triple Zero
  17. Trusted Information Sharing Network

Internal

  1. Intranet

1Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes, May 2006