The University of Cambridge is committed to making accessible for all users information and resources that are available via the web.
- The University Disability and Employment Policy (http://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/policies-procedures/disability-and-employment-policy) and Equal Opportunity policy (https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/personnel/policy/equal.html) emphasise the University's commitment that it should be open to all who can benefit from studying or working here, determined only by personal merit, by performance and/or by criteria related to each particular post.
- The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Quality Code (http://www.qaa.ac.uk/AssuringStandardsAndQuality/quality-code/Pages/default.aspx) states that institutions should consider disabled students in every aspect of planning and administration of academic and social activities.
- The Disability Discrimination Acts (1995 & 2005) and Special Education Needs and Disability Act [SENDA] (2001) - which amended the first act to include education, the latter became law in May 2001 with teaching and learning components falling under legislation in September 2002. SENDA legislates that it is an offence to discriminate against a disabled person by treating him or her less favorably than others for a reason relating to their disability. For the purposes of the legislation a disabled person is defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has an effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The Act covers all aspects of an institution's student services. 'Student services' is given a broad meaning of 'services of any description which are provided wholly or mainly for students' and will obviously include educational services such as teaching and learning provision. Discrimination can also occur where an institution fails to make a 'reasonable adjustment' where the disabled student is placed at a 'substantial disadvantage' in comparison with someone who is not disabled and such failure cannot be 'justified'. [See synopsis of Acts and links to in full]
The University favours the principles of usability and universal design, which will be of benefit of all users. By following these principles and incorporating techniques to ensure information and resources are accessible with assistive technologies, separate resources for disabled users should not be required.
All web pages should be assessed by the guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) from the World Wide Web Consortium, known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/. The University requires that:
- All new web pages should be written to at least conformance level 2 standard (AA), but to conformance level 3 standard (AAA) if possible.
- All existing pages should meet at least conformance level 1 standard (A) of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/).
- Most pages should meet conformance level 1 standard (A) of the newer guidelines by 1 September 2011. A development plan should be in hand to make all pages conformant to at least A level within as short a time as possible.
Departments, faculties and research groups and other groups that publish information on the web are responsible for being conversant with accessibility issues, auditing their web material and taking reasonable steps to ensure their websites comply with these requirements. Any third-party who is engaged to design web pages for the University, whether hosted within or without cam.ac.uk, will be required to comply with these guidelines. Sites will be checked periodically.
Templates for the University web style
Templates and guidelines for the University web page style, plus supporting information, are available at http://www.websupport.cam.ac.uk. The templates are compliant at AA level, but are only so if the material inserted is again checked. It must not be assumed that compliance is achieved unless further checking takes place.
Guidelines and support
For users of web pages
Should you have difficulty accessing information on any web pages in cam.ac.uk, please contact the webmaster of the system you are trying to use or CoreWeb@admin.cam.ac.uk giving the urls of the pages concerned and outlining your requirements. We will endeavour to supply the information to you in another form.
For local information providers
Full guidelines for producing accessible web pages (based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0) are available. These guidelines will be next revised during 2017.
This statement may be reviewed when local or national policies or the WAI guidelines are revised.
Agreed at a meeting of the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate (minutes of the meeting, for local access only), 20 May 2010