Our Accessibility Statement

This website is run by Somerset County Council. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • zoom in without the text spilling off the screen
  • 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 have 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
We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • you cannot modify the line height or spacing of text
  • most older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • live video streams may not have captions
  • some of our pages and online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • you cannot skip to the main content when using a screen reader
  • some of our code does not pass the w3c validation checker

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 within 10 working 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, you can use our feedback form at the bottom of most pages, or email generalenquiries@somerset.gov.uk

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 D/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.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility
Somerset County 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
Some images do not have a text alternative, so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We plan to add text alternatives for all images by September 2020. When we publish new content we’ll make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

Navigation and accessing information
There’s no way to skip the repeated content in the page header (for example, a ‘skip to main content’ option). This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.1 (bypass blocks).

It’s not possible for users to change text size above 250% without some of the content overlapping. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.4 (resize text).

Interactive tools and transactions
Some of our interactive forms are difficult to navigate using a keyboard. For example, because some form controls are missing a ‘label’ tag.

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).

Non compliant code
Some of our code does not currently pass all AA checks on the W3C Markup Validation Service. This is due to the platforms and themes we have used to build the site. We have checked that these errors will cause a minimal impact upon users. We will aim to address all AA level validation errors by September 2020. This may not include some warnings.

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

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. By September 2020, 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
Live video streams do not have captions. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.4 (captions – live).

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

How we tested this website
The site is automatically tested each week using Siteimprove. This is a third-party platform to test the accessibility quality and usability of the site.

We test:

What we’re doing to improve accessibility
We currently have a large number of other websites and third party sites which we know do not meet the required level of accessibility. We have an ongoing project to decommission and evaluate these websites and where appropriate rebuild them to the required standards. If you have any issue accessing any of these legacy sites please contact us using the details listed above. We are currently designing the next iteration of the website to address many of the accessibility issues listed above. 

This statement was prepared on 13 November 2019 It was last updated on 13 November 2019.