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Accessible documents policy

Accessible documents policy

This accessibility statement applies to documents published by East Sussex County Council.

There is a separate accessibility statement for our website and services.


Using our documents

East Sussex County Council publishes documents in a range of formats, including: PDF, Word, Excel and CSV,.

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 a plain text web page (‘HTML’) option 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 can’t see them can understand what they’re there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
  • use plain English whenever possible

How accessible our documents are

New documents we publish and documents you need to download or fill in to access one of the services we provide should be fully accessible.

However, we know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are photocopies or in a print format and aren’t marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
  • aren’t tagged up properly – for example, they don’t contain proper headings

We don’t currently have plans to make these documents accessible, but if you need to access information in them, you can contact us and ask for an alternative format.


What to do if you can’t use one of our documents

If you need a document we’ve published in a different format or you have had a problem using a document:

We will pass your request onto the correct department will contact you directly.

As part of providing documents in another way, we will need to send you messages or documents. Tell us how you want us to send messages and documents to you. Tell us if you need them in a different format, for example large print, audio recording or braille.


Enforcement procedure

In England, Wales and Scotland, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).


Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

East Sussex County Council is committed to making our documents accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The documents the Home Office publishes are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

Some of our documents are not properly tagged, or do not use accessible headings or structures. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for navigation set out in standard 1.3.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

We are tagging and adding accessible headings and structures in all documents published after 23 September 2018. We aim to complete this as soon as we can.

When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of tagging, headings and content structures meets accessibility standards.

Some of our documents include diagrams and other visual elements presented without a text alternative. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for perception set out in standard 1.1.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

We are adding text alternatives to visual elements in all documents produced after 23 September 2018, that fail to meet the accessibility guidelines. We aim to complete this as soon as we can. When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams and other visual elements meet accessibility standards.

Some of our documents (including some produced before 23 September 2018) are essential to providing our services. For example, we may still have some PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms that are not accessible. We are fixing these or replacing them with accessible HTML pages as soon as we can.

Some of the documents we publish are produced by third parties. We are not always able to make these fully compliant, for example adding alternative text to images or diagrams. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for perception set out in standard 1.1.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

We have informed third parties of our accessibility requirements but sometimes we have to publish documents at short notice that are not accessible. Where possible, we will fix these as soon as we can.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

Some of our documents were produced in a print format before 23 September 2018. This type of document cannot be read by screen readers and other forms of assistive technology, so it fails to meet the success criteria for perception set out in standard 1.1.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

Some of our documents produced before 23 September 2018 are not properly tagged, or do not use accessible headings or structures. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for navigation set out in standard 2.4.6 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

The accessibility regulations don’t require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. We don’t plan to fix:

  • non-statutory guidance that doesn’t relate to the provision of a service
  • consultation responses
  • policy papers
  • independent reports
  • corporate reports
  • correspondence
  • research and statistics
  • transparency data
  • Freedom of Information releases

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

You can request details of any information excluded from the scope of the Regulations by contacting the Web Team.


How we tested our documents

This site was most recently tested in September 2020. This website was and is currently being tested for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines V2.1 level A and level AA, and these tests have been carried out internally. We used automated testing software SortSite and Qatar Accessibility Monitor. For some sections we also used WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.

We tested:

  • our main website
  • a range of microsites and third party websites

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We’re improving accessibility by carrying out accessibility checks on all our new documents.

We’re reviewing the accessibility of older documents that are covered by the accessibility regulations, starting with the ones which are being used the most and getting the highest number of unique page views.

We’re training our staff to create accessible documents. We are implementing processes and requirements to ensure that all Home Office publications must meet the accessibility requirements in WCAG 2.1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.