Accessibility statement

Swindon Borough Council accessibility settings page

Scope of this statement

This accessibility statement applies to www.swindon.gov.uk.

This website is run by Swindon 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:

We also have a policy of writing and reviewing website content so that it is 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

We know some aspects of this website aren’t fully accessible:

  • you can’t modify the line height of text
  • most older PDF documents aren’t fully accessible to screen reader software
  • we have some information pages that need to be changed to make the language we’ve used easier to understand
  • we don’t have a language translation tool on the website
  • we haven’t done extensive testing with screen reader technologies or speech recognition software
  • we have some pages where we link to different places using the same link text
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • some of our online forms may be hard to use using a screen reader
  • we need to make it easier to report a street issue without having to use a map to tell where the issue is

Feedback and contact information

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 with an initial response within two working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, send details of your concern to accessibility@swindon.gov.uk. This concern will be initially addressed by our web content manager.

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

Find out how to contact us.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

Swindon 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.

Compliance status

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

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

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Italics used to format content

The italics <i> tag is used to format content. Specifically, it is used to format icons, for example on our home page. This is because of the nature of the third-party code we use for displaying icons. We plan to either retire the use of icons on our website or find another way of displaying them. This is a medium-sized piece of development work that we plan to complete by March 2021.

Site announcement not in a landmark

The site announcement content, which we sometimes use to put an important message across the whole website, is not inside a landmark and does not have an ‘aria-label’ attribute. This makes its meaning harder to understand for people using a screen reader. The fault is in the template code, which cannot be changed quickly. We expect it to be fixed by November 2020.

Non-distinguishable elements

There are some elements on some web pages that do not have an ‘aria-label’ attribute. Again, this makes the meaning of such elements hard to understand for people using a screen reader. For example, the <nav> element showing the page 1 to 4 at the top of our section on booking a visit to the Household Waste Recycling Centre is not labelled. These faults are in the template code, which cannot be changed quickly. We expect these issues to be fixed by November 2020.

Small tag used for formatting

We have some instances where the <small> tag has been used for formatting on the website, because it has been used to reduce text size rather than convey the semantic meaning “this text is presented as meaningfully small” (for example, in a footnote or a disclaimer). For example, the ‘Give feedback about this page’ link at the bottom of a typical information page, and the ‘published date’ byline in a typical news story.

Same link text, different destinations

Some system-generated pages have the same link text pointing to different destinations, which is ambiguous to people using assistive technologies. The examples are few and anomalous, and a tiny number of website visits would be affected. Nevertheless we recognise the issues should be fixed.

There are different examples that have different methods of fixing, some of which are simple, but some that need further investigation and thought. We expect to fully clear of this issue by March 2020.

Not all PDFs are accessible

We have in excess of 2,000 PDFs available to download from the website. We have reduced this number from nearly 4,000 in September 2018.

For the remaining PDFs, we have made many fully accessible using tools in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Our overarching aim is to make every PDF on the site fully accessible, and we have a continual improvement plan in place to achieve this. By the end of 2020, we plan to be able to say with full confidence that every PDF on the site you need to access a service is fully accessible.

There is more about PDFs in the section below.

Maps used for reporting street issues

We invite users to drop a pin on a map to mark the location of some street issues. We recognise that this method isn’t suitable for people who are using screen readers. We plan to make an alternative means of supplying a location available and fully accessible. There is no timescale on this development at present.

Some forms are not fully accessible

We are not fully confident that all features of all our online forms are fully accessible. We are working with our website supplier to reach full confidence, and expect this to be achieved in 2020.

Text alternative to images

While we know that all images on the site have alt text in place, we cannot say with full confidence that all our alt text is of a suitable descriptive standard. Our web editors understand the importance of providing descriptive text, and are sufficiently skilled to do so.

However, we intend to take an inventory of all alt text on the site and manually check its suitability. We expect to complete this exercise by the end of 2020.

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

PDFs and other documents

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 PDFs or Word documents. By March 2021, 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 meet accessibility standards.

Live video

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

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

As well as the actions described in the above section, we are:

Acting upon insights from SiteImprove

We use SiteImprove to continually assess the quality of our website for accessibility compliance.

We have currently completely fixed 87 out of 118 issues identified by SiteImprove for being complaint with the WCAG 2.1 ‘AA’ standard. Our score out of 100 for accessibility is currently 89.8, against an industry benchmark of 76.5.

Snippet from a webpage at SiteImprove.com, showing accessibility score for www.swindon.gov.uk

Scrutinising publication of PDFs

We do not publish without scrutiny any PDF published on the website.

Instead, we consider first whether the content proposed in the PDF could be published as an HTML webpage, making it inherently more accessible.

If that is not possible, we ensure that the PDF is fully accessible. We have published information on our Intranet about creating accessible PDFs and provided a template in order to do so.

There is more information about our continual improvement plan for PDFs above.

Applying embedded standards when updating content

We have committed to a set of best practice principles when creating new content on the web. This ensures that content is conveyed in plain English, in a readable layout, and in adherence with our own style guide.

Whenever we update a web page we apply these scrutinise the content for adherence to these standards and, where necessary, make retrospective changes.

Committing six weeks a year to accessibility work

In addition to continual improvement that the web team can pick up when time allows, we plan to commit six weeks a year exclusively to accessibility throughout the year.

Every four months we will freeze normal updates to the website in order to focus fully on work that will improve the accessibility of Swindon.gov.uk and ongoing customer journeys at different domains.

We will update this accessibility statement during those focused periods.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

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

Apart from automated tests through SiteImprove, we have not used a third party to audit the site for accessibility compliance. Instead, all our testing and scrutiny has been done internally.