Central government is committed to providing online information that is user friendly, accessible, well designed and findable. The websites of public authorities need to be easy for the public to find, view and use. To make sure that this happens, central government has adopted the Web Guidelines, which its website managers have to apply.

World Wide Web Consortium W3C

The Web Guidelines are based on internationally recognised rules concerning accessibility, design and sustainability laid down by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Web Guidelines: ‘apply or explain’

The Web Guidelines (version 2) appear on the list of obligatory open standards laid down by the Standardisation Forum, which promotes open standards and interoperability in Dutch public authorities. All the open standards listed by the Forum are subject to the ‘apply or explain’ principle. Public authorities must apply these standards in their entirety. Or, if they are justifiably unable to do so, they must clearly explain why.

The Web Guidelines (version 2) are described in the Web Guidelines Terms of Reference (Toepassingskader), which serves as a manual for best practice in website design and management.

The procedure whereby public authorities render account for their website management is also subject to requirements. These are described in the Web Guidelines Accountability Model (Verantwoordingsmodel).