Progress Report - 2006/2007
Information is essential for making what government does accessible to everyone. Information can make a difference to people being able to:
- take part in decision making about themselves
- take part in decision making about rules and systems
- find out how to contact an agency
- find out what an agency does.
If people are able to do all these things, then government is accessible.
Government agencies were asked what they do to make information more accessible. Their responses are summarised in graph one (below) and are compared with the results from last year.
Online government sets a standard for accessibility
The State Services Commission has shown leadership and partnership in developing the New Zealand Government Web Standards and Recommendations Version 1.0.
The Commission formed working and advisory groups made up from numerous government and disability sector representatives, and the new standards reflect their diverse input. The new standards set a high standard in usability and accessibility for government websites.
Agencies report they have taken the following steps to improve accessibility:
- most agencies are reviewing their communication materials, communication strategies and websites for accessibility. Key areas where changes are being made include converting download files to HTML format wherever possible, ensuring documents are written in plain English, and requiring any contracts for IT changes to include accessibility
- there is a general move towards using plain English in all documents, whether intended for publication or not. This is accepted as best practice and many agencies are training their staff and updating their templates to encourage it.
Measuring progress of accessible government websites
In 2005/2006 the Office for Disability Issues, in partnership with the State Services Commission, got AccEase Ltd to survey some government websites for accessibility for disabled people.
The survey found there was an overall improvement in compliance with Web Guidelines, although there is still work to be done in this area. The results of this survey are available on the Office website: Going Beyound Compliance.
Online information (see graph one)
- In 2007, agencies who met the Web Guidelines Version 2.1 increased from 50% to 66%. From January 2008, there will be new standards (New Zealand Government Web Standards and Recommendations Version 1.0), and 24% of agencies reported having achieved these new standards. Agencies have until January 2008 to comply with these standards or apply to the State Services Commission for a temporary exemption.
- Fifty eight percent of agencies have had their sites tested for usability, an increase from 40% in 2006, and 55% of agencies have made changes to improve accessibility, an increase of 10% from 2006.
- In 2007, 58% of sites have their information available for download in the HTML format. This format is accessible for people using software that reads documents out to them. This is a small increase from 55% in 2006.
- In 2007, agencies were asked about providing information in other formats. 68% said they provide information in plain English, and 5% in New Zealand Sign Language.
Graph one: Accessible information - online information
Hardcopy information (see graph two)
- Seventy one percent of agencies reported that they provide hardcopy information in plain English.
- In 2006, agencies were asked if they provided information in other formats if requested and 35% of them did. In 2007, they were asked about specific formats. Responses show that 3% can provide it in New Zealand Sign Language, 8% in Braille, and 10% in audio format.
Audio-visual and other information (see graph two)
- New questions were asked about whether agencies provided captions or New Zealand Sign Language formats for audio-visual information. Thirteen percent of television advertising done by responding agencies use either captions or New Zealand Sign Language, and 16% of DVDs or videos use captions or New Zealand Sign Language.
- The last question in this section was whether agencies inform people about the different ways that the agencies could be contacted (i.e. through the telephone, fax, email, etc). In 2006, 70% did this, and in 2007, this has increased to 82%, an increase of 12% overall.