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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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Accessibility of Government and Central Government Internet sites

 - 27/09/2007

Logótipo do Programa Acesso da UMIC A Council of Ministers Resolution (text in Portuguese) was approved on 27th September 2007 laying down guidelines for accessibility of Government and Central Administration services and public bodies’ websites for citizens with special needs. The technical requirements that need to be satisfied are clearly defined and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s guidelines on levels of conformity for the accessibility of Internet content have been adopted.

For merely informative content sites, the target is for “A” conformity within three months, while for sites that incorporate the provision of services to citizens on a transactional basis, the goal is for “AA” conformity as per the aforementioned guidelines within six months.

Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) is part of an advisory working group aiming to contribute to identifying technical accessibility requirements, namely those for “A” and “AA” conformity levels and to cooperate further in a technical consultancy role. AMA – Agency for Administrative Modernisation, IP, INR – National Rehabilitation Institute and CEGER – Government Informatics Network Management Centre are also part of this working group.

The Access Programme is part of UMIC’s Inclusion and Accessibility activity area and is intended to promote the development, availability and dissemination of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) instruments that enable citizens with special needs, namely the disabled, the elderly and the bedridden, to overcome their difficulties. This follows on from the work of the Access Unit - Accessibility for Citizens with Special Needs to the Information Society, which was set up in 1999 under the remit of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Council of Ministers' Resolution No. 97/99 (text in Portuguese) of 29th July had already established that central government services would have to adopt appropriate organisational formats and ways of presenting information on the Internet to ensure accessibility for citizens with special needs, without, however, defining a norm to be complied with. This resolution, which is part of the National Initiative for Citizens with Special Needs that was approved in Council of Ministers' Resolution No. 96/99 (text in Portuguese), of 29th July, made Portugal the 1st country in Europe and the 4th worldwide to approve legislation for this purpose. Council of Ministers' Resolution No.110/2003 (text in Portuguese) of 12th August and Council of Ministers' Resolution No. 9/2007 (text in Portuguese) of 17th January pursued the goal of improving the accessibility of central government sites. Since 1999, following the publication of Council of Ministers' Resolution No. 96/99 (text in Portuguese) of 29th July, the percentage of central government Internet sites whose home pages satisfied basic levels of accessibility for citizens with special needs in Portugal was visibly higher than the internationally-observed average (by a factor of 4 or 5), although most sites still did not satisfy the desired basic accessibility levels.

Last updated ( 16/07/2010 )