Join the Web Standards Reference Group!

This is a general membership call for the new Web Standards Reference Group (WSRG). If you have an interest or expertise in web standards and accessibility, and are either a NZ Government employee (central or local), or a representative of the vendor, disability, or web professional communities, you are welcome and encouraged to join.

There is no formal time commitment required, but each member is expected to make a reasonable effort as their availability permits to contribute to WSRG activities.

About the WSRG

The WSRG Terms of Reference below outline the criteria and policy under which the WSRG will function, and the type of work it will deliver.

The WSRG will be a group of reasonable size (30–40 people) with representatives from agencies, disability communities, and the IT industry with an interest in the Web Standards, and especially accessibility. Government employees will likely want their manager's approval, but participation is entirely voluntary. The WSRG will not hold regular face-to-face meetings, and there are no formal time commitments. Members will be expected to make reasonable efforts only as their interest and availability permit to contribute to Reference Group activities, which will include, among other things:

  • reviewing initiatives, programmes of work, and deliverables coming from the Web Standards Team
  • identifying Web Standards and accessibility issues of concern to stakeholders
  • working on discrete, specific deliverables as part of small, ad hoc groups of one or more people
  • contributing to discussion and deliverables through common communication and collaboration tools (e.g. email, Yammer, other online tools as implemented by the Web Standards Team)

Background

From December 2012 to November 2015, the Web Standards Working Group, comprising representatives from various agencies and disability communities, as well as external experts, helped guide the direction of the Web Standards and raise agencies and vendors’ related knowledge and skill.

During that time, the Working Group produced guidance materials, and was instrumental in developing the new Web Accessibility and Web Usability Standards issued in July 2013. The Working Group was also a critical to the work involved with the 2014 Web Standards Self-Assessments.

Regular fortnightly meetings, alongside a moderate formal time commitment, were not feasible for most participants due to competing priorities or commitments. Attempts to deliver guidance and other WSWG work were distributed across many participants, which extended effort and delivery times, and impacted quality. The WSWG stopped meeting in November 2015.

However, there remains a need for a body of representatives from agencies, vendor and disability communities, as well as subject matter experts, to inform, review and support the Department of Internal Affairs’ work on the all-of-government Web Standards. Therefore a new Web Standards Reference Group is being established with the purpose of providing ongoing support to the development of Web Standards related guidance, materials and activities.

Get in touch

If you are interested in joining the WSRG, or have any questions, please let us know by emailing web.standards@dia.govt.nz, or by giving me a call at 04 462 0332.


NZ Government Web Standards Reference Group (WSRG) Terms of Reference

Government Information Services
Information and Knowledge Services
November 2016

Contents

  1. Background
  2. Purpose
  3. Objectives
  4. Scope
  5. Membership
  6. Activities
  7. Meetings
  8. Performance measurement
  9. Fees and funding

1. Background

The New Zealand Government Web Accessibility and Web Usability Standards (the “Web Standards”) set requirements for the technology, design, and content of New Zealand Government websites. The Web Accessibility Standard focuses on improving Government website accessibility for people with disabilities. Accessible websites also benefit users without disabilities, as well those using a variety of technologies to access the web. The Web Usability Standard contains a number of non-accessibility related requirements, e.g. contact information, copyright and privacy statements, links to non-HTML documents, and printable web pages.

The Web Standards, Cabinet-mandated for core agencies since 2003, are issued by the Government Chief Information Officer as ICT Functional Leader for the State sector. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) administers the Web Standards and delivers related guidance to help agencies lift their capability and build accessible and usable government online information and services to support quality customer experiences.

The Web Standards Working Group (WSWG) was established in December 2012 to support ongoing efforts regarding the previous version of the New Zealand Government Web Standards. A consultation with disability communities, government web practitioners, and third-party vendors about the future of the Web Standards was started at the same time. That consultation and subsequent work resulted in the new Web Accessibility and Web Usability Standards issued in July 2013.

The WSWG comprised representatives from various agencies and disability communities, as well as external experts. The purpose of the WSWG was to provide participating agencies and disability communities an opportunity to guide the direction of the Web Standards, while helping to raise agencies and vendors’ related knowledge and skill to support the quality delivery of accessible, online government content. The WSWG produced guidance materials that were published on the NZ Government Web Toolkit website, and was instrumental in preparing and running the 2014 Web Standards Self-Assessments.

Regular fortnightly meetings, alongside a formal time commitment (4 hours per fortnight), were not feasible for most participants due to competing priorities or commitments. Attempts to deliver guidance and other WSWG work were distributed across many participants, which extended effort and delivery times, and impacted quality. The WSWG stopped meeting in November 2015.

However, to ensure that the Web Standards and their application by government agencies and vendors meet the needs of stakeholders, input from affected and interested parties is required. There remains a need for a body of representatives from agencies, vendor and disability communities, as well as subject matter experts, to inform, review and support the work of the team at DIA that is responsible for the Web Standards on behalf of the GCIO (the “Web Standards Team”).

2. Purpose

The purpose of the Web Standards Reference Group (WSRG) is to provide ongoing support to the work of the Web Standards Team by reviewing, advising on, and contributing to the development of Web Standards related guidance, materials and activities.

The WSRG is not a decision-making body.

3. Objectives

  1. Ensure that the Web Standards Team and its work consider the perspectives and needs of stakeholders (agencies, vendors, disability communities, and experts).
  2. Contribute to the development of practicable and reliable Web Standards guidance, materials, and activities to help raise the associated knowledge and skill of agencies and vendors, and support the delivery of accessible online content that meets the Web Standards.
  3. Provide opportunities for individuals from participating agencies, disability and vendor communities, as well as subject matter experts, to learn and to share their knowledge and skill, to champion the Web Standards, and to have their contributions to the improvement of government online recognised.
  4. Draw on the existing expertise, knowledge, and skill related to the Web Standards and distributed across State Sector agencies, disability communities, and the New Zealand ICT community.

4. Scope

In Scope

The following activities are within scope:

  1. Advising the Web Standards Team on the Web Standards programme.
  2. Reviewing, advising on and contributing to the development and delivery of guidance, supporting materials and activities for understanding, meeting, and assessing against the Web Standards.
  3. Reviewing and analysing results from assessments of agency websites against the Web Standards.

Out of Scope

The following activities are out of scope:

  1. Formal assessment of agency websites against the Web Standards.
  2. Determining policy settings for application of the Web Standards.

5. Membership

Roles and Duties

Chair

The Web Standards Team collectively serves as the Chair for the WSRG and is responsible for:

  1. communicating WSRG news and Web Standards Team activities in a timely manner
  2. scheduling and leading meetings as required
  3. managing and coordinating WSRG activities and deliverables
  4. resolving WSRG conflicts.
Members

Members agree to perform, as their interest and availability permit, the activities listed in 6. Activities.

Criteria and Policy

  1. Membership in the WSRG is by appointment by the Chair only.
  2. Members must be NZ Government (central or local), vendor, disability, or web professional community representatives with interest or expertise in web standards and accessibility.
  3. There are no formal required time commitments, but Members are expected to make reasonable efforts as their availability permits to contribute to WSRG activities.
  4. Any Member can resign from the WSRG at any time by communicating their resignation to the Chair.
  5. Membership can be revoked at the Chair’s discretion.
  6. The WSRG shall comprise at least three Members, in addition to the Chair.
  7. There is no upper limit to the number of WSRG Members.

6. Activities

In pursuit of the WSRG objectives, its Members will, on a voluntary basis, and as their availability permits:

  1. review initiatives, programmes of work, and deliverables coming from the Web Standards Team
  2. review the Web Standards and recommend any changes necessary to ensure that they remain fit for purpose
  3. identify Web Standards and accessibility issues of concern to stakeholders
  4. work on discrete, specific deliverables as part of small, ad hoc groups of one or more people
  5. deliver presentations and workshops on the Web Standards and accessible web authoring/design/development/management to stakeholders
  6. contribute to WSRG discussion and deliverables through common communication and collaboration tools (e.g. email, Yammer, other online tools as implemented by the Web Standards Team)
  7. participate in face-to-face meetings
  8. champion the benefits of the Web Standards and accessibility in the delivery of government online content.

7. Meetings

  1. Face-to-face meetings will be scheduled as required, as determined by the Chair with input from Members.
  2. Face-to-face meetings will be held in Wellington, NZ, with video- and/or tele-conferencing where available for remote participants.

8. Performance measurement

The WSRG will review its performance annually, and adjust its terms of reference and activities accordingly, by considering:

  1. the achievements of the Web Standards Team as supported by WSRG activities
  2. the discrete deliverables produced by the WSRG
  3. the perceived value to Members of the WSRG’s activities during the previous year.

9. Fees and funding

  1. Neither Members, nor the Chair, receive any fees for participating on the WSRG, attending WSRG meetings, or performing WSRG-related work.
  2. WSRG operations receive no funding. This does not preclude the possibility of the WSRG securing government funding for holding a special event or developing a particular deliverable.

2 comments

  1. Comment #1. Dave Duckworth:

    Hi Jason,

    I think you have the bullets and titles mixed up for 7,8,9 – e.g. “9. Fees and funding” contains “Meetings” information.

    Regards,
    Dave

  2. Comment #2. Jason Kiss

    Thanks, Dave. Fixed now.

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