We publish documents in a range of formats, including PDF, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel). We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we make sure to:
- provide or convert to an HTML page where possible
- tag headings and other parts of the document properly, so screen readers can understand the page structure
- make sure we include alternative text alongside non-decorative images, so people who cannot see them understand what they’re there for
- avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
- write in plain English
How accessible our documents are
We aim to publish all new documents that you may need to download or fill in to access one of the services we provide to be fully accessible.
However, we know that some of our older documents are not accessible. Including some that:
- are just photocopies and are not marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
- are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
- are not written in plain English
This applies to documents on our website, planning applications and committee systems. Older documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible unless they are key to service delivery.
What to do if you can't use one of our documents
If you need a document that we’ve published in a different format, email email@example.com, and we’ll look into your request.
Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents
We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our documents. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page, or a document that isn't accessibility requirements, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.
Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations
Some of our documents have diagrams. These images do not have a text alternative, so the information in them is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).
When we publish new documents we aim that the use of diagrams meets accessibility standards by adding alternative text.
Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations
Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2.
Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. We plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.
The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services.
Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will aim to meet accessibility standards.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
We are doing a number of things to improve our document accessibility. Including:
- training and for staff on how to create accessible documents
- regular accessibility audits which include user testing (every 2 years)
- ongoing monitoring of websites and documents using automated testing
- procedures have been put in place for when procuring online systems
- procedures have been put in place for when developing new online systems