The Chair of the Commission, Councillor Christopher Wellbelove, introduced the report and informed Cabinet that the Commission was set up in 2016 to examine the Council’s accessibility of digital services and also highlighted the following:
· The Council needed to ensure that the move towards “digital by default” were matched by improvements in the accessibility of our online environment so no residents were disadvantaged.
· The Council needed to be mindful of the Equality Act 2010 and ensure there were no barriers in accessing digital services.
· There were three main areas the Commission focused on: website user interface, frontline access and support, and procedures and processes.
· He also highlighted that the work undertaken as part of the Commission strongly related to the findings in the Equality Commission, and hoped that gave greater impetus to the recommendations. Councillor Wellbelove also thanked the officers who supported the Commission.
The Deputy Leader (Finance and Resources), Councillor Imogen Walker, thanked Commission Members, Councillors Wellbelove, de Cordova and Hill as well as officers, for the work on this Commission. She acknowledged that the world was moving to a more digital approach, and that Lambeth was no different and any challenges needed to be dealt with head on, taking into account the limitations of those who have difficulty in using digital. Councillor Walker also advised that she would review the action plan and work with officers to expedite the recommendations where possible.
In response to questions from Cabinet Members, Officers stated that:
· The work undertaken focused on the digital aspects and not on paper usage.
· Some work/actions were done as the Commission was being conducted, such as decommissioning of three micro sites.
· There were new processes in place and more senior officer oversight in relation to things such as microsite creation.
· Government Digital Service (GDS) were supportive and helpful.
· Much of the actions had already been started and in some cases already completed.
1. To receive the report and recommendations of the Accessibility of Council Digital Services Scrutiny Commission.
2. To approve the activities within the action plan prepared in response to the Commission’s findings (Appendix 2) in principal, subject to identification of appropriate budget, and to note the intention for it to be reviewed in September 2018 and September 2019.