Governmental Collaboration on ICT-accessibility

Three questions to Anette Ekman at the Swedish Employment Offices and originator of Governmental Collaboration on ICT-accessibility.

Why did you begin collaborating between governmental agencies on digital accessibility?

- The reason i started the network is that i realized the importance of building accessible systems. Since it’s a complex area, I figured that I would like to have people to bounce ideas off of. This resulted in me having the idea that we should cooperate with other governmental agencies, seeing as there should be lots of knowledge to share. As luck would have it, I ran into a collegue who manages a different network, who agreed to help me reach out to other governmental agencies.

- The response was incredibly positive. Many were interested. As of now, we are a bunch of different agencies who are collaborating.

I now feel that we have an actual chance to influence our respective agencies’ digital systems. When you are passionate about the project, it is exciting to be able to implement your ideas in this way. I have to mention the support I have received from my supervisors at the Swedish Employment Offices, I’m genuinely grateful for that.

What is the purpose of the network?

- To learn from each other! That is the main goal! Imagine, if in a few years time, all government agencies are accessible to all! What a difference that would make for people!

Tell us more about your work and how often you meet?

- The first meeting took place in May 2015. We let all the members present themselves and answer a few questions. The questions concerned how they work with accessibility at the moment. It was very interesting and informative. We also held a workshop, where we, among other things, decided on which topics we would like to discuss in future meetings.

- In total, we had five meetings in 2015. Among others, items on the agenda have been: 

  • Legislation
  • Funka’s method of procurement
  • Webbriktlinjer.se (guidelines on web-accessibility)
  • Försäkringskassan’s (Swedish Social Security Office) beta site
  • Screen reader demo

- We are now looking forward to another educational and interesting year that will bring us closer yet to our goal: to ensure that governmental agencies are a role model and are accessible to all.