A voluntary body has been set up to help address the issues disabled and older people face in accessing digital services such as those used in online banking, on public transport and digital TV.
The Digital Accessibility Alliance will bring together government departments, regulators, local government, business and the not for profit sector to:
- encourage compliance with relevant eInclusion legislation such as the Equality Act 2010;
- promote universal access for citizens to digital services, particularly for older people and those with disabilities; and
- generate and promote good practice.
The Alliance will be headed up by Kevin Carey, Chair of the RNIB, and met for the first time last week to agree their priorities.
Welcoming the formation of the Alliance at its inception meeting, Culture and the Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“The explosion of digital services provides endless opportunities for all – but the Government is all to aware that disabled and older people can often intentionally be left behind. By bringing together the various parties, through the Alliance, we can work together to address any issues and make a difference.”
Kevin Carey, chair of the new Digital Accessibility Alliance, said:
“After nearly 20 years of working in the accessibility field, we need to change with technology. We need an agenda to move forward and not play catch up. I look forward to chairing the Alliance to make a positive impact on the lives of disabled and older people.”
The Alliance will meet at regular intervals throughout the year and will provide regular updates to the Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy. It will build on the work of the previous eAccessibility Forum, which worked to ensure accessibility, affordability and equal participating for disabled users in the digital economy.
The Digital Accessibility Alliance is open to all those with a publicly declared commitment to its aims and objectives, including, (but not limited to), government departments, regulators, local government, business, universities and academia and the not-for- profit sector.
The Alliance will be managed by DCMS, which will nominate a Chair (Kevin Carey) and a Management Group, and will provide the Secretariat. It is expected to meet three times per year or as necessary, interspersed with meetings, when necessary of the Management Group.
Kevin Carey has been Chair of RNIB since 2009; he was Vice Chair from 2001. Kevin was educated in a school for blind children, was integrated into a standard secondary school and then went on to Cambridge and Harvard. He worked for SightSavers International from 1977-1992 and subsequently founded his own eInclusion charity, humanITy.