Accessible Documents Policy

Accessible documents policy at Cefas

This policy explains how accessible the documents are that Cefas publishes on this website. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document.

Making a website accessible means making sure it can be used by as many people as possible. This includes those with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

Cefas is:

  • updating corporate Word and PDF templates to an accessible format
  • raising awareness across the organisation of the accessibility requirements
  • training staff on meeting accessibility standards
  • converting to HTML (where possible) as documents come up for review
  • getting appropriate software to make accessible PDFs
  • getting software with assistive technology features (where possible)

Using our documents

Cefas publishes documents in a range of formats, including:

  • PDF
  • PDF forms
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

We want as many people as possible to be able to use these documents. For example, when we produce a document we:

  • provide an HTML option where possible
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
  • write in plain English – although some content contains legal, scientific or technical language
  • include a text alternative for non-decorative images, so people who cannot see them understand what they’re there for
  • tag headings and other parts of the document, so screen readers can understand the page structure
  • make document titles clear and meaningful
  • use descriptive link text so people understand the purpose of each link
  • avoid writing instructions that rely on visual cues
  • provide descriptive text transcripts for videos

How accessible are our documents?

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

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

  • are not tagged up properly – for instance, they have no heading structure
  • are not written in plain English
  • are online forms that are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • contain images without a textual description
  • include complex tables
  • are forms that have guidance in a separate PDF to help completion

This mostly applies to these document types:

  • corporate reports
  • technical guidance
  • consultations and their supporting documents
  • research and analysis reports
  • statutory guidance
  • forms
  • statistics

Some documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible.

But if you need to access information in one of these document types, you can contact us and ask for an alternative format.

What to do if you cannot use one of our documents

If you need a document we’ve published in a different format:

  • email: accessibility@cefas.co.uk

We’ll consider the request and get back to you in 10 working days.

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 you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact accessibility@cefas.co.uk. Our digital content team will look into your comments.

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).

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

Cefas 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 that Cefas publishes are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non-accessible content 

Some content is non accessible for the reasons listed below.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

This mainly applies to content produced in 2018 and 2019 and therefore needs to be amended retrospectively.

We may identify that some content would be a disproportionate burden to fix. If we do, we will update this policy to include a section on Disproportionate Burden.

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

Some documents may have diagrams with no text alternative. The information in these diagrams is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). We plan to add text alternatives for all diagrams.

Some documents may have diagrams that do not meet the colour contrast ratio of at least 3:1. These diagrams may be difficult to see, or completely missed, by people with a visual impairment. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.11 (non-text contrast). We plan to fix our diagrams to meet colour contrast requirements.

Some documents may have diagrams that use colour as the only means of conveying information. The information in these diagrams may not be perceived by users with colour vision deficiencies. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.1 (use of colour). We plan to fix these so that information is conveyed not only through colour but also by another visual means.

Some forms may not have page functionality available for using a keyboard. This content cannot be operated through a keyboard or keyboard interface. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (keyboard). We plan to fix forms to meet the keyboard requirements.

Some documents may have been published in an unstructured PDF. Headings, list items and paragraphs may not be recognised by a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to fix the documents and publish them with the appropriate structure.

Some spreadsheets may not be clearly structured with labelled tables, and labelled headings. Column headings may be blank. Workbook tabs may not have a clear title. This does not meet success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to fix the documents and publish them with the appropriate structure.

Some documents may have been published using tables to lay out text in columns on the page. This often hides content from the navigation pane or table of contents. This does not meet success criterion 2.4.6 (headings and labels) or success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to make sure that tables are not used to lay out text.

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

Many 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 documents contain maps. This does not meet a number of WCAG 2.1 success criteria, including 1.3, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1 and 3.2. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible. We will consider the use of maps in documents and provide a text alternative if appropriate.

The accessibility regulations do not require us to update PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. For example, we do not plan to fix research and analysis reports.

For any new PDFs or Word documents we publish, we plan to meet accessibility standards.