Web Accessibility Policy Making:
An International Perspective
This document is an excerpt from the G3ict White Paper “Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective,” (Revised Edition 2012) researched and edited by Nirmita Narasimhan of Centre for Internet & Society, India, in collaboration with accessibility and disability policy experts from around the world. The paper seeks to identify some of the initiatives and best practices which have been adopted by 14 countries and the European Union as a first step towards policy formulation for countries.
Italy has enacted a legislation that requires public services and information to be accessible, provides for adequate IT working instruments and equipment to be provided to persons with disabilities and stipulates that public procurement of ICT goods and services should always keep accessibility as a consideration. The guidelines apply to national and local public bodies and to private subjects, if they are concessionaries of public information or services, and to public transport and telecommunications companies. Enforcement of legislation and guidelines is monitored by a ministerial council and a central agency. The central agency also plays an important part in monitoring the enforcement of accessibility policies in the processes of public ICT procurement. Italy has signed and ratified both the UNCRPD and the Optional Protocol.
Italy has several guidelines and initiatives around accessibility, for both web accessibility and IT infrastructure. The laws are as follows:
This is the principal legislation on web and IT accessibility for the disabled in Italy. It states that the government protects each person's right to access all the sources of information and their relevant services, such as IT and data transmission instruments. More specifically, the provisions are applicable to public administrations, economic public agencies, regional municipal companies, public assistance and rehabilitation agencies, transport and telecommunication companies in which the state has a shareholding and to ICT services contractors. The Law also covers accessibility equirements at procurement. It also contains the commitment to provide disabled workers with adequate IT equipment in order to allow them to work efficiently.
This decree delves deeper into the implementation of the provisions of Law 4/2004. Websites must not only be barrier-free but also simple, effective, efficient and capable of satisfying the user's needs. Private subjects must necessarily apply for an accessibility assessment made by a member of the evaluators' list in order to obtain the accessibility mark. Public agencies and bodies may instead autonomously assess their compliance with the accessibility requirements and with the provisions of the law, in adherence to the principle of selfgovernment.
This law implements the European Union law principle set out at Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which states the principle of fight against discrimination based on sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, personal beliefs, handicaps, age or sexual preferences. Law No. 67/2006 aims to grant disabled persons the same rights actually enjoyed by non-disabled persons and provides disabled persons with a general remedy against discrimination, and that such remedy adds to, and does not derogate, those other provisions containing different forms of protection.
2. Compliance with WCAG:
Compliant with WCAG 1.0.
Law 4/2004: Article 3 lists the addressees of this Act. Those involved in the enforcement of the law are all public bodies and agencies, both national and local. The law also applies to private subjects, if they are concessionaries of public information or services, and to public transport and telecommunications companies. Both decrees have been made in order to further the enforcement of Law 4/2004, and are hence similarly applicable.
4. Protocol for evaluating and monitoring
Due to the flexible nature of the Decree, the technical requirements can be updated whenever relevant changes should occur in the national and international e-accessibility scene. Law 04/2004 assigns the duty to monitor the enforcement of the Law to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Department for Innovation and Technology) and to the Italian Authority for Information Technologies in Public Administration (CNIPA). This applies especially to central public agencies. These two agencies must also trace the accessibility criteria for the development of IT systems in public administration, and introduce issues relating to accessibility in public personnel training programs. On the other side, regions, autonomous provinces and municipalities are responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the law by local authorities.
CNIPA also plays an important part in monitoring the enforcement of accessibility policies in the processes of public ICT procurement. One of its institutional duties is in fact to give advice on any relevant public ICT project or contract signed by central agencies.
1. Law 4/2004, “Provisions to support the access of the disabled to information technologies”
2. Decree of the President of the Republic, March 1st 2005, No. 75, “Implementation Regulations for Law 4/2004 to promote the access for the disabled to computer technologies”
3. Ministerial Decree, July 8 2005, containing the Technical Rules of Law 4/2004
4. Law 67/2006 “Provisions for the judicial protection of persons with disabilities, victims of discrimination”