Tasks of the supervisory authority
Our task is to:
- provide general guidance and advice on accessibility requirements and the implementation of accessibility rights
- process notifications, i.e. complaints and requests for information on accessibility shortcomings that users have encountered on digital services
- carry out annual supervision in accordance with the marginal conditions defined by the European Commission
- regularly consult different stakeholders on compliance with accessibility requirements
- report on the results of the monitoring to the European Commission
- participate in the preparation of international accessibility guidelines.
Table of contents
The aim of monitoring is to determine whether the websites and mobile applications of actors within the scope of the Digital Services Act meet the accessibility requirements of the Act. Monitoring is based on the European standard EN 301 549 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 2.1.
Firstly, we process the notifications made by users, i.e. complaints and requests for clarification related to accessibility. As a solution to the complaint, we provide administrative guidance and a decision with a right to appeal it on the request for clarification related to accessibility. If the administrative guidance we provide is not followed, we can place the service provider under supervision in accordance with the monitoring programme. Supervision under the monitoring programme refers to annual supervision in accordance with the Commission Implementing Decision.
The first monitoring period, exceptionally lasting two years, starts in January 2020 and ends in December 2021. After the first monitoring period, the periods shall be one year.
Methods of the monitoring programme and the number of monitoring subjects
At the Regional State Administrative Agency, we use two different methods to supervise the accessibility of digital services. We carry out both comprehensive and simplified monitoring. We
carry out comprehensive supervision as expert work and strive to carry out simplified supervision partly in an automated manner.
For public sector bodies, the number of digital services monitored annually is determined by the European Commission. The size of this sample, i.e. the number of digital services supervised during each monitoring period, is calculated on the basis of Finland’s population. The number of digital services monitored during the first and second monitoring periods is slightly lower than during later supervision.
During the first monitoring period, we comprehensively supervise 20 websites and four (4) mobile applications. We use a simplified method to monitor 185 websites during the first monitoring period. As the number of services under supervision becomes standard from 2023 onwards, we will monitor approximately 20 websites and 12 mobile applications annually through comprehensive monitoring. Through simplified supervision, we will monitor about 240 sites per year.
In many respects, the scope of application of the Finnish Digital Services Act is broader than the minimum level defined in the European Union’s Accessibility Directive, which only targets public sector bodies. However, the Digital Services Act also covers digital services in the private sector, which we also supervise annually to a certain extent.
In our sampling, we take into account different levels of administration and, for example, the geographical distribution of services. In accordance with EU policies, the sample must include digital services of actors that represent various social services as comprehensively as possible. We take into account the views of key stakeholders, primarily organisations representing persons with disabilities, when selecting the sites for supervision.
From the second monitoring period onwards, the sample will include at least 10% of the digital services that were monitored during the previous monitoring period. At least half of the supervised digital services, on the other hand, should be ones that were not under supervision during the previous monitoring period.
Results of monitoring and reporting
The aim of supervision is to raise awareness and promote learning. For this reason, the overall results of the monitoring activities will be openly published.
Once the digital services supervised during the monitoring period have been selected, we will contact their publishers as soon as possible before the actual inspections begin. Once the monitoring has been carried out, we will inform the actors whose digital services we supervised about the results. In this way, we aim to ensure that operators are informed of any shortcomings in accessibility and can correct them.
Under the Digital Services Act, the Regional State Administrative Agency has the right to impose a conditional fine when carrying out supervision or to make an order more effective. Imposing a conditional fine is the last resort. Imposing a conditional fine is based on the Act on Conditional Fines, and its amount varies from case to case.