Information Services

Time for a Service MOT in Applications

A new project has been launched by Applications Directorate of Information Services Group (ISG Apps) to enhance the service reviews of its new and existing websites and applications. Improving ongoing monitoring of accessibility will be prioritised to ensure that the websites and applications can be used and enjoyed by everyone.

Laptop showing the University of Edinburgh's Information Services homepage

All organisations are expected to make their websites and applications accessible. But, as a public sector body, the University of Edinburgh is also required to hold an accessibility statement for every website and application. 

An accessibility statement is a legal requirement that informs a user: 

  • If anything on the site or application is inaccessible 

  • How to request alternative formats  

  • How to report accessibility issues 

  • How to proceed with the enforcement procedure, if they are not happy with the organisation's response 

Public bodies are expected to test how accessible all of their websites and applications are, and to create or update their accessibility statements, on an annual basis.  

If any improvements to accessibility are required, this should be stated, together with an estimated date for completion. Moreover, accessibility must be a key component of any software procurement. 

In order to meet these responsibilities, a new project is underway aligned with the vision, purpose and values of the University – in particular, that we are diverse, inclusive and accessible to all. 

Rather than running a project every year to test accessibility, this project aims to develop a business as usual (BAU) solution that will aid service reviews of all ISG Apps owned websites and applications.  

This will also ensure resources are utilised more effectively across the University’s Information Services departments. 

Business as usual (BAU) tool for accessibility audits
Business as usual (BAU) tool for accessibility audits

Initially the focus will be on accessibility. However, the solution will be designed to include data processing audits and enable further service review types to be added in the future – such as data protection reviews. 

The solution will use lists created in Microsoft SharePoint, creating a single source of information, to help Service Managers identify and prioritise pending due dates for reviews and address them before deadlines are reached. 

This task will happen on a rolling basis, as BAU, enabling Service Managers to become experts in monitoring and updating accessibility requirements and associated statements, along with other annual service review activities, related to their service. 

Alex Carter, the project’s sponsor and Head of Service Management said: “This project will enable us to understand how to improve our services to make them more accessible to all.”  

“Not only that, it will give us a toolkit to assess our service health consistently on a range of measures and make sure we keep them up to date. This ‘Service MOT’ will give us confidence that our services are fit for purpose – and help us know what we need to do to keep them that way” 

It is hoped that being able to monitor due dates electronically will give confidence to Service Managers and stakeholders that important service review activities are being undertaken on time. 

On completion, this project will have accessibility tested and updated numerous essential ISG Apps websites and applications.  

As a result, it will improve the experience of anyone who uses these websites and applications. 

It will also boost awareness of accessibility requirements across ISG Applications amongst staff and managers more generally. 

Beyond this project, it is hoped the BAU solution will be utilised for more processes in other areas of Information Services and the wider University.