Most charity websites 'are breaking equality laws'

Accessibility charity AbilityNet warns that as many as 90 per cent of charities do not make their sites accessible to visually impaired people

Charity websites under scrutiny
Charity websites under scrutiny

The "vast majority" of charity websites are breaking equality laws because they are not accessible to blind and partially sighted people, IT experts have warned.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at the accessibility charity AbilityNet, said he believed more than 90 per cent of charity websites were contravening the Equality Act 2010.

He said the main problems were simple issues, such as the inability to resize text or the failure to properly label pictures. Some organisations had faced legal action over such failings, he said.

Christopherson said government and equalities agencies did not appear to be interested in pursuing prosecutions, but disability organisations were lobbying them to do so.

"So far, the government hasn't prosecuted on this," he said. "It's all been done by individuals and it's been settled out of court, which means that it's been done anonymously.

"But it remains the case that you can be prosecuted if you're breaking this law."

Robin Spinks, principal manager for digital accessibility at the RNIB, said lack of accessibility was a problem throughout the country, but because many charities were small they were less likely to have understood their responsibilities.

"Because there have been no high-profile cases, a lot of people don't realise this," he said. "Disabled people have a right to be able to access websites."

He added that the RNIB provided a guide on how to comply with disability legislation.

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