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Accessibility statement

This accessibility statement applies to www.swale.gov.uk and related subdomains.

This website is run by Swale Borough Council.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

Most of this website is compliant with the W3C WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard. However, we know there are some parts of this website that are not fully accessible:

  • some pages and forms may not be readable with screen readers
  • most older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in three days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website.

If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please let us know via this form.

Enforcement procedure

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).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We provide a text relay service for people who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment.

Our offices have audio induction loops, or if you contact us before your visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

Find out how to contact us at www.swale.gov.uk/new-news-and-your-council/contact-us

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

Swale Borough Council is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons:

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Images

Some images don’t have a text alternative (alt text), so the information in them isn’t available to people using a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). We plan to add text alternatives for all images by December 2020. When we publish new content we’ll make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

Some images contain text, so people with dyslexia or using a screen reader will not be able to read the information. This doesn't meet WCAG success criterion 1.4.5 (images of text). We plan to remove or replace images containing text by December 2020. When we publish new content, we’ll make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

Contrast

On some pages there isn't sufficient contrast between the colour of the text and the background of buttons, making it hard to read the information. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 (contrast (minimum)). We plan to improve colour contrast by December 2020.

Forms

On some pages the form element has a label, but text has not been added, making it harder for users of assistive technology to understand the information. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships), 4.1.2 (name, role, value) and 2.4.6 (headings and labels). We plan to add text to the label by December 2020.

Navigation

Some pages use HTML5 or WAI-ARIA landmarks, but not all content is included. This makes it harder for users of assistive technologies to navigate the page without losing track of content. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to add text to the label by December 2020.

Some pages have a WAI-ARIA attribute that has the exact same features as the HTML element it has been applied to. This is redundant since is doesn't provide the user with any additional information and can be removed without any impact for users. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 4.1.2 (redundant WAI-ARIA attribute). We plan to remove the attribute by December 2020.

On some pages the WAI-ARIA 'aria-describedby' attribute has a reference to an ID that does not exist or an ID that is not unique. This makes it harder for users of assistive technologies to navigate the page without losing track of content. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 3.3.2 (labels or instructions). We plan to correct the label by October 2020.

Some pages have a local link (anchor link) but the destination does not exist, which makes it difficult for users to navigate. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to fix the links by December 2020.

Some pages do not have a top-level heading on the page, making it hard for screen reader users and search engines to know the main topic of a page. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to headings by December 2020.

Some pages contain two or more HTML5 or WAI-ARIA landmarks of the same type that has not been named. Users might not know the difference if it's not somehow explained. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to fix the attributes by December 2020.

Some pages HTML5 and WAI-ARIA landmarks need to be reviewed. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to review these pages by December 2020.

Some pages don’t have a means of bypassing blocks of content that are repeated on multiple web pages. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criteria 2.4.1 (bypass blocks). We plan to have a link at the top of each page that links to the main content area by December 2020.

Formatting

Some pages use HTML presentational attributes such as 'border', 'align', or 'bgcolor’, where CSS should be used for styling. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to correct the formatting by December 2020.

Some pages use the u tag to underline text, when an H-tag (such as H1, H2, H3 etc) should be used instead. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships). We plan to correct the tag by December 2020.

Some links are too generic and don’t help people identify their purpose. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 2.4.4 (link purpose (in context)). We plan to improve the text for the links by December 2020.

Some pages the same link text which goes to different destinations, and users may not know the difference if they are not explained. This doesn’t meet WCAG success criterion 2.4.4 (link purpose (in context)). We plan to improve the text for the links by December 2020.

Disproportionate burden

We don't categorise any of the accessibility issues on www.swale.gov.uk as a disproportionate burden to fix within the meaning of the regulations, with the exception of PDFs and other documents.

Some of our interactive forms are built and hosted through third party software and made to look like our website. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

We’ve assessed the cost of fixing the issues with navigation and accessing information, and with interactive tools and transactions. We believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations.

Interactive tools and transactions

Our forms are built and hosted through third party software and ‘skinned’ to look like our website. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

We’ve assessed the cost of fixing the issues with navigation and accessing information, and with interactive tools and transactions. We believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations. We will make another assessment when the suppliers’ contracts are up for renewal.

PDFs and other documents

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 (name, role value).

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.

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 meet accessibility standards, and we will prioritise the most popular to be fixed to meet the accessibility standards by January 2021.

How we tested this website

This website was last tested on 19 September 2020. The test was carried out using SiteImprove on https://beta.swale.gov.uk.

This will replace www.swale.gov.uk on 23 September and test will be carried out at least monthly to identify issues we need to address to improve the accessibility of the site.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

This statement was prepared on 22 September 2020. It was last updated on 22 September 2020.

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