Questions for starting at a new organisation

Are you joining a new organisation or just want to better consider how you are including digital accessibility across your work?

We recently started new roles leading digital accessibility teams at two London universities and these are the first questions we asked when we joined. We have tried to group them to make them more readable. Hopefully there are questions in here you have not asked before.

-George & Ben

The team

  1. What is the aim of the digital accessibility team? What are senior leadership looking to achieve out of this for the next 2 years?

  1. How many job roles are available?

  2. When do we need to recruit people by?

  3. How accessible is the recruitment process?

  4. HR / recruitment contact?

  5. What is your current expectation for these job roles?

  6. What is the staff annual review process like?

  1. What is the team budget?

  2. Has kit already been procured?

  3. If not already, how do I buy testing kit?

  4. What is the process for making proposals to senior leadership for budget increases or extensions to the work?

  5. Is there budget for staff training to upskill my team if need be?

  1. What are the overlaps with other teams e.g. alternative formats, disability support, learning technologists, web development?

  2. What is the expected role of my team in reasonable adjustments for staff or students?

  3. Will we be expected to advise on digital platform remediations associated with reasonable adjustments or give advice or working round issues?

Showing progress and giving evidence

  1. What would we do if approached by the CDDO with monitoring?

  2. How can we ensure we cover all of the points from the Accessibility monitoring of public sector websites and mobile apps 2020-2021

  1. How are you expecting me to evidence progress? Eg Key Performance Indicators

  2. What quantitative measures can we put in place to measure progress and achievement for the team?

  3. What are senior leadership review meeting schedules like? How often do they want updates?

  1. Do you already have a standard testing report template?

  2. How were audits completed previously?

  3. How is accessibility checking and sign off incorporated into go live plans, and dev to BAU transition processes?

  1. Have we had any accessibility related FOIs in the past 3 years?

  2. Do we have template responses for FOIs yet?

  3. Contact for FOI team?

What have we got?

  1. Do you have a list of all systems you own?

  2. Have the systems been prioritised in any way?

  3. Has each team completed a risk assessment?

  4. Do you have accessibility risk assessments in place?

  5. What data do we have for each system eg usage to help with prioritisation and risk profiling

  6. What is the status of the website? Any plans for redesign/overhaul?

  7. What is the status of the VLE? Any plans for redesign/overhaul?

  8. Who is the system owner?

  9. Are they aware of their accessibility requirements? How is this communicated/enforced?

  10. Do we know the status of each system?

  11. Are any systems claiming disproportionate burden? And if so, what for?

  12. Have any systems been audited?

  13. Where are the audit reports kept?

  14. When were the audits completed and who by?

  15. What are the issues with each system?

  16. Where are the contracts for each system?

  17. Team contacts for each system?

  18. Supplier contacts for each system?

  19. Who controls the statements on the website?

  20. How is the organisation structured? So that I know which senior managers would need to sign off responsibility for each system.

  1. What captioning systems are you using?

  2. What are the Blackboard Ally figures?

  3. How are they used and evaluated?

  4. What are the main failings of learning materials in the VLE currently?

  5. Are there university level templates for Word and PowerPoint?

  6. Is accessibility mentioned in branding guidance?

  1. What conversations are we having with publishers about the accessibility of their resources? Searchbox?

  1. Do we have an idea of the end-to-end student journey? Operating model.

  2. If no student journey idea can I go out and make one?

Meeting allies

  1. Which person/department is arguably the most accessible/engaged in the institution?

  2. Contacts for the disability support team?

  3. Contacts for the procurement team?

  4. Contacts for library services?

  5. Contacts for VLE team?

  6. Contacts for Student Union?

  7. Contacts for front of house comms and marketing teams?

  8. Contacts for disabled students / staff groups?

  9. Contacts for Learning and Development team?

  10. Student placements teams?

  11. Contact for careers team?

  12. Enterprise or student business teams?

  13. Who is responsible for clearing activities?

  14. Contacts for academics, or schools?

  15. What accessibility support might each of these teams need?

  1. What DSA assessment centre does the university work with?

  2. What connection between DSA assessment and disabled student support already exists? How does that work?

  1. Can I set up a Digital Accessibility Working Group?


  1. What existing training / elearning is available for staff on improving accessibility?

  2. What guidance has been put in place for better delivery of STEMM materials?

  3. How do I advertise training to staff?

  4. What are the processes for getting people on training?

  5. What are the processes for making proposals for policy adjustments to change the requirements on staff?

  6. What are we doing about improving the accessibility of our published academic material such as papers etc? Open Access eg AJPP

Raising awareness

  1. How has accessibility been introduced to academics?

  2. Has accessibility been included into any curriculum content?

  3. Where within the curriculum of appropriate subjects can we embed accessibility? Who would I talk to about this?

  4. What are we doing about raising awareness of students about accessibility actions?

  5. How are we promoting productivity tools to all students?

  6. Can we offer career sessions to teach students accessibility activities?

  7. Who does Freshers / society / career fairs and could we do a stall promoting accessibility support within the uni / tools available to students / training sessions to learn about making accessible content?


  1. Do you have any standardised procurement questions?

  2. Do you have any standardised contract wording?

  3. Has any accessibility questioning of new procurements been effective?

  4. Can I review any recent procurement examples where you asked about accessibility?

Supporting students and staff

  1. How many disabled students do we currently have?

  2. What is the internal version of Inclusive Learning Planss?

    1. SoRAs data?

    2. Staff data?

  3. Do we have org level data for these ILPs?

  4. What central adjustments to platforms or tooling could we recommend to address common adjustments in ILPs?

  5. How are ILPs being reviewed and disabled students being engaged to identify areas for accessibility improvement in our digital systems?

  6. What reasonable adjustments have had to be made because of the failings of digital systems?

  7. What engagement is there currently with disabled students/staff? Eg surveys, focus groups, union groups, user experience?

  8. Do we have data on Alt Formats? What formats are people requesting? Why?


  1. How is disabled navigation of the campus achieved?

  2. Do you have virtual tours showing routes to locations on campus available?

  3. Is any video guidance audio described?

  4. Do you have tactile maps and signage around campus?

  5. How can we proactively incorporate and respond to the Disabled Students UK HE paper about to be released?