Information about the current accessibility legislation

Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, electronic document or mobile application to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of people, including those who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive differences.

The University is committed to ensuring that our learning resources are inclusive to as many learners as possible, and it’s everyone's responsibility to ensure that the content we produce is accessible. It’s also the law.

This page outlines important information about the current accessibility legislation, and information about how to meet accessibility standards for documents, video, and lectures.

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Summary of legislation

Recent and ongoing changes in the law concerning accessibility require us to take a more proactive approach to ensuring our content is accessible. This means rather than waiting to be asked by students for accessible versions of resources should they need them, we should be providing them with resources that are already accessible.

Key facts about the new accessibility regulations 

New accessibility regulations require the following: 

  • Accessibility requirements for documents (e.g. Word files, PDFs, presentations) should be adopted with immediate effect.

  • These standards are easily achievable, mainly entailing commonsense use of text, document structure and labelling of images.

  • Video content published on or after 23 September 2020 should be accessible.

  • The addition of Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) generated captions will satisfy our baseline standards, and we do not require that they are edited up to 100% accuracy.

  • Video content published before 23 September 2020 does not need to be captioned.

How to meet the accessibility standards

Documents, presentations and other 'office files'

Following the guidance given on the General principles for creating accessible content page will ensure that your documents meet the correct requirements.

Video content

All video content uploaded to Kaltura and Encore after 21 September 2020 will have captions automatically applied.

Video content uploaded before 21 September 2020 can have captions added retrospectively. Please visit the Creating accessible video page to find out more.

Live lectures

Live lectures (e.g. those delivered via Blackboard Collaborate) do not have to be captioned. However if they are recorded, and you wish to make these recordings available to students, then they would need to be captioned within 14 days of the live event. This is because after 14 days, they are treated in the same category as other videos. We recommend that you do this by downloading the recording, and uploading it to either Kaltura or Encore.

Digital Accessibility Statements

If a particular resource or tool you need to use in your teaching is not accessible and there are no alternatives available, this should be clearly stated on your departmental accessibility statement. If this is the case, or you are unsure how accessible a resource is, contact your learning technologist, or if you don’t have one, the Digital Learning team (

The legislation and standards of compliance

The new legislation is The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 No.952. You can find more information on why accessibility is important on the Government's understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies pages.

The new regulations indicate that resources should be compliant with the Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, or WCAG 2.1, to Level AA. A quick reference guide on how to meet WCAG 2.1 is also available.

You can find out more information about how the University’s digital services more broadly conform to the new regulations by visiting our institutional accessibility statement.

Related information

Accessibility Regulations: What you need to know (Jisc)