World Laws
United Kingdom

UK Legislation

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was introduced to end discrimination against disabled people and give them new rights in the areas of employment, access to goods and services, and buying or renting land or property. Full text of the act: Disability Discrimination Act 1995

On 1 October 2004 the final stage of the goods, facilities and services provisions of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) came into force. However, the provisions in the Act (Part III) that arguably apply to Web sites have been in force since 1 October 1999 Accessibility as a legal requirement in the UK/Europe

The original Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 did not cover education which meant that universities did not have to ensure that their educational services were accessible to disabled learners as a condition of their grant. This was remedied with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act of 2001.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) was introduced as an amendment to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and forms part 4 of the act. Full text of the act: Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, 2001

  • The Act introduces provisions for people with disabilities in education in England, Wales and Scotland. It aims for "comprehensive enforceable civil rights" for people with disabilities in pre- and post-16 education in England, Scotland and Wales. It has major implications for further education institutions, for the way the curriculum is delivered and students are supported.
  • The new rights came into force on 1 September 2002, with two exceptions:
    • The provision of auxiliary aids and services will be covered from 1 September 2003
    • Alterations to physical features will be covered from 1 September 2005

Additional information about this piece of legislation can be found at the following sites.

The article Institutional Web sites and Legislation by Martin Sloan also offers additional information on the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, 2001 and how it might be applied. He states,

"It is the purpose of this article to review these arguments, consider their consequences for the web sites of Higher and Further educational institutions and, finally, to consider how the recent Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 might extend these duties further."

Important Documents and Reports Related to Web Accessibility in the UK

The New Code of Practice

There is an important document that will help web developers understand the requirements in the DDA. This is the New Code of Practice created Feb. 2002 by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and is available as a Word document at Disability Rights Commission (DRC) (Word document)

"The Code's primary function is to provide guidance for both service providers and disabled people and whilst not an authoritative statement of the law, there is a requirement that the court consider any part of the Code which seems relevant. It is also designed to prevent illegal action in the first place by suggesting and encouraging good practice and early or alternative dispute resolution." [Martin Sloan - Web Accessibility and the DDA - Journal of Information, Law and Technology July 2001] Web Accessibility and the DDA

The Web: Access and Inclusion for Disabled People

The DRC conducted a formal 12 month investigation of the accessibility of UK web sites. Their final report The Web: Access and Inclusion for Disabled People was released on 14 April 2004. This page links to the text of the formal report available as a PDF or RTF file. An HTML version is not provided, but the site says one will be posted shortly.

The DRC held a web cast for the release of this report. There is a full transcript provided as an RTF file and each web cast segment is experienced most effectively using Internet Explorer. DRC Web cast transcript

A report summary is available on the DRC site. Report Summary