Feeds

UK.gov makes bizarre threat to throw self off internet

Curtains if sites not accessible by 2009

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The UK Government has given itself until the end of next year to get its act together on accessibility, after which any .gov.uk site failing to achieve the minimum, Level Double-A of the W3C Guidelines will have its domain withdrawn. This brave, nay, foolhardy commitment could conceivably result in carnage across national, local government and miscellaneous hanger-on .gov.uk sites - and we can perhaps look forward to a more overtly outsourced future containing sites such as homeoffice.tv, mod.cn and basildon.eu.

Or not. UK Government web sites may not generally be a great deal of use when it comes to basic objectives such as communication, reference, organisation and consistency, but the major sites generally either achieve the guidelines or come sufficiently close for them not to find the December 2008 deadline particularly challenging. So they're accessible already, and we can all be confused by them on a level playing field.* But a Southampton University study last year found that 61 per cent of Government and local council web sites did not comply with the guidelines, and it seems reasonable to expect that quite of number of sites beyond the major central Government ones still fail to make the grade.

So unless they've pulled their socks up by 2009, they all get culled? Again, probably not. The threat of withdrawal appears in the "Minimum level of accessibility" section of a consultation on Delivering Inclusive Websites, available at the Cabinet Office site. This states: "Continuing standalone sites must achieve this level of accessibility by December 2008. Websites which fail to meet the mandated level of conformance shall be subject to the withdrawal process for .gov.uk domain names, as set out in Naming and Registering Websites (TG101)."

And what and where is TG101? This is not immediately obvious, not even to the public sector web gurus, who (you'll note from the discussion at this link), do however manage to turn up this page, also at the Cabinet Office and clearly labeled out of date and archive only. But hey, it's all we've got. In essence, it seems to suggest that if a web site is complained about, and if it fails checks made three times in 90 days, then it gets the push.

Which probably means there will be no widespread massacre, and that the worst that will happen is that a couple of sites will have a shot put across their bows, but will clean up their acts before the axe falls. The upside for the Government here is that the users will help it find .gov.uk sites it had to all intents and purposes forgotten about, and identify all of the non-compliance issues it had missed for it. Web 2.0 participative Internet in action.

The consultation was posted on the Cabinet Office site in the last week or so, and runs until November 13th. Check the authorship date on the document and you'll find it was 14th May. e-Government in action. ®

* Example: Google cabinet office accessibility and you get this link top, www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/e-government/ resources/handbook/introduction.aspx, which at time of writing bounces you straight through to a page that doesn't just tell you that the page is missing, but that the page that's supposed to tell you the page is missing, is missing. Or at least that's what we think the 'can't find custom 404' 404 page is telling us. We'd guess that the Cabinet Office paid large amounts of money to bring you news of this multi-tiered failure.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.