The DTI to the rescue!

The Prime Minister has responded to the petition over UK government sites’ accessibility, which came about because of the fuss Dan Champion and I made over the Department of Trade and Industry’s disastrous redesign:

“The Government is committed to ensuring that all government websites are accessible and easy to use for people with disabilities.

Action 7 of the Prime Minister’s Digital Strategy is to ‘improve accessibility to technology for the digitally excluded and ease of use for the disabled’.

This strategy is to be implemented by DTI with support from OGC and eGU (now the Cabinet Office Delivery and Transformation Group). A cross-government review of the Digital Strategy is currently under way under the supervision of the DTI).”

Joined-up government? My arse.

13 Responses to “ The DTI to the rescue! ”

Comment by Glenn

When it comes to government, the cock-up theory usually has the greatest explanatory power. So, the best that can be said is that the lack of joinedupness (I’m sure I’ve seen that word in government papers) is generally the result of incompetence and ignorance rather than arrogant disregard for citizens. Although there’s a bit of that too.

Three cheers for the finest civil service in the world.

Of course there are quite a few hard working, caring and committed civil servants too. Like those who know me, and a certain blogger’s Mom and Dad of course

Comment by Richard Conyard

I’m glad I’m not the only one who read this and thought “What??!?”

It doesn’t appear as if they even read the petition, there doesn’t appear to be an acknowledgement that there was a c**k up, and the policy that was in place before this debacle is still the same policy.

I wonder is FoI will allow for the release of the target completion date of the review and the review findings… or would that information cost too much to retrieve!

Comment by Ross Bruniges

I was pretty excited to see that there was any kind of response from the petition but indeed, this didn’t make much sense or have any real meaning – just trying to baffle us with acronyms on what not.

From my understanding of government and public sector hierarchy any research papers or strategies planned will take up to about a year to complete so the fight goes on I would think….

Comment by Rob Kirton

Fortunatley I wasn’t *too* excited to receive this the reply. Having received responses from number 10 for other petiotions, my expectation had been suitably managed.

Strategies are fine, detailed plans are better and of course solid action best of all. Why do I feel as though we are a long way off this?

Comment by bruce

Cross-posted from Accessify:

I feel another letter to my MP coming along: given the DTI are unwilling to spend £600 to find out what went wrong with their own site, can they be trusted now?

And (less facetiously): can the gvt guarantee to listen to the input of the people it mandated with representing the needs of disabled people: the DRC, and the PAS 78 document which it commissioned?

And I’ll write to Jane Mackenzie, the journo who wrote the Private Eye piece a while back.

Are you with me, comrades?

Comment by Grant Broome

Damn straight.

I find it hard to believe that the guy who wrote the response read even read the petition.

What we must be careful to do is channel any future FOI requests through one or two people so the government can’t use the old “mob psychology” chestnut again.

Comment by Bruce

A letter sent today to my MP:

A while ago I wrote to you about the inaccessibility to disabled people of the Department of Trade and Industry website, and how the DTI refused a Freedom of Information Request that asked it to tell me when it decided to relax the contractual requirement on its suppliers to meet the Disability Discrimination Act.

You were kind enough to ask a question of the minister in charge, who answered me (although only to deny me the information I sought).

An e-petition to the Prime Minister received the following response:

“The Government is committed to ensuring that all government websites are accessible and easy to use for people with disabilities.

Action 7 of the Prime Minister’s Digital Strategy is to ‘improve accessibility to technology for the digitally excluded and ease of use for the disabled’.

This strategy is to be implemented by *DTI* with support from OGC and eGU (now the Cabinet Office Delivery and Transformation Group). A cross-government review of the Digital Strategy is currently under way under the supervision of the *DTI*).”

The DTI’s involvement in the implementation of the PM‘s strategy is obviously of great concern, given the DTI’s own failures to ensure accessibility to disabled people.

Can I ask you to speak to colleagues, especially the Prime Minsister and the minister at the DTI to ensure they involve those charged by the government to protect the needs of disabled people, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

I also hope that you will seek an undertaking that *all* goverment websites will be developed according to the principles laid down by the DRC and the British Standards Institution in their Guide to Commissioning Accessible Websites (PAS 78).

Yours sincerely,
Bruce Lawson

Feel free to copy/ crib and send to your MP via the wonderful They work for you.com.