We are constantly working to make our website as accessible and usable as possible. If you have any questions about using our website or if you have a suggestion on how we can improve its accessibility, email the communications team.

When we were developing this website with our website provider Verseone. They have ensured that the content was checked prior to going live by experienced users of adaptive technology for access by people who have

  • no vision
  • low vision
  • colour blindness
  • dyslexia
  • deafness
  • mobility Impairment
  • learning difficulties

Our website includes a built-in accessibility checker. This means that before we place anything on our site the system checks it and provides the author with messages, prompts and warnings to guide them towards publishing Accessible content that is in line with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. For example if we try to publish a photograph without including a description of what’s on it, the website content management system alerts us to that fact and makes sure that we do.

Our website includes the facility for people using it to be able to change the contrast of the site and view in either black and blue font on a yellow background or yellow and blue font on a black background. The button to activate this function can be found after clicking on the accessibility tools box at the top right of each webpage.

Browser compatibility

This site has been developed and tested in several desktop and mobile device internet browsers using responsive web design techniques. This means that you should be able to comfortably view the site on either a computer screen, smartphone or tablet. Certain aspects of this site will not work in browsers more than 3 to 4 years old. We very much recommend upgrading your internet browser to a more recent release.

Issues with images and video

We strive to make all of our content accessible. We are aware of the following issues with images and video on our site:

  • some of the video content does not have captioning
  • some of the images on our site are complex diagrams where suitable alt text is not possible

When we publish new content we’ll make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

All images used in this site include descriptive alternative text. This means that if the person using this website has a visual impairment and is using software that reads the site content to them, it will include a description of any image on that page.

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations. 

Videos on YouTube will use the YouTube closed captions tool only when the captions have been verified with the script. For any videos which require modification a transcript will be uploaded alongside the video.

Other languages

Visitors to our site who wish to access information in other languages may use the Google Translate service powered by Google Translate which is available on every page on our website from a box in the top right-hand page. Google Translate is a third party service and any use of its translation services is subject to its rules or requirements.

The translations are made through an automated process which may not result in accurate or precise translations. Anyone using Google Translate does so at their own risk and the user accepts the legal implications of any shortcomings or differences in the translation.

Disproportionate burden assessment

We believe that our approach to carrying out accessibility checks is reasonable but means that we will not do detailed accessibility checks on all of our websites. This might mean accessibility issues on some websites are not fixed.

However, the accessibility regulations say that we do not need to make a website accessible if doing so would impose a disproportionate burden on us. We believe that carrying out more detailed checks and fixing documents, beyond what is set out above, would be a disproportionate burden.

While this assessment explains our corporate position on disproportionate burden, some services may still choose to carry out a detailed check themselves, or pay for one if they are able to budget for it.

Checking websites

Our most important content and transactions are provided on our main websites. We're doing detailed checks of these. 

However, we do not believe the benefit of paying an auditor for detailed checks of our other websites would justify the impact on us except where those sites are specifically aimed at people with a disability.

Checking documents 

We've also assessed that it would be a disproportionate burden to fix all documents published on these websites since 23 September 2018. 

The majority of these documents are rarely viewed, therefore they are unlikely to be negatively impacting users with disabilities or impairments. For this reason, we don't believe the cost of time, effort and resource to fix all the documents is justified. 

We will focus on fixing the most-viewed documents on these sites (top 5%), and ensuring that new documents are accessible where they are required for essential services or specifically address the needs of, or are meant for, persons with disabilities.