Accessibility statement

Accessibility statement for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

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

This website is run by Southend-on-Sea 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
•    zoom in up to 300% 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)

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

How accessible this website is

We have upgraded this website to an improved platform that has been designed with accessibility in mind.
We have systematically gone through the content on this website, and continue to do so, to ensure text is in plain English, free from jargon and of a reading level lower than secondary education (WCAG 3.1.5). The majority of this website complies with this, however some policy documents or planning applications do not meet this criteria.

All buttons, images and banners have colour contrast that adheres to the accessibility regulations
All videos uploaded after 17 June 2020 have captions and/or a transcript.

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 do not have captions

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 within 5 days.

If you cannot view the map on our ‘contact us’ page, call or email us [email protected] for directions.

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, contact: [email protected] 

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.

Find out how to contact us

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

Southend-on-Sea 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.

Non-accessible content

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

  • Contrast levels are set and not able to be altered. However in re-designing this website, we have ensured that all navigation and body content has colour contrast compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA.
  • Many of our pdf downloads are not accessible. We have created a register of PDFs which are essential for service delivery and are working through these to create HTML pages and forms. We have reduced the pdfs on the site by approximately a quarter and continue to reduce these, placing all necessary content on web pages where appropriate. Many documents in the planning section are not accessible and contain legal wording and architect drawings that do not comply.
  • There are a number of policy documents that are necessary to have on our website and that are not compliant.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Some text is written in language that is not plain English. We are reviewing all content and by September 2020, all on-page content will comply with WCAG 2.1 AA.

Disproportionate burden

Interactive tools and transactions
Our forms are built and hosted through third party software and ‘skinned’ to look like our website. These are found on the my.southend.gov.uk domain.
We’ve assessed the cost of fixing the issues 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 supplier contract is up for renewal, likely to be in 2021.

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 council policies. 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. For example, we do not plan to fix this pdf https://www.southend.gov.uk/downloads/download/562/government_procurement_card_spending_2015

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

We have already relaunched the website on to an improved and accessible platform.
The roadmap to becoming fully accessible is as follows
•    Relaunch site to fix back-end accessibility issues (complete)
•    Ensuring body copy of web pages are in plain English (partially compliant as at June 2020)
•    Removing non-essential pdfs and placing content on web pages where possible (partially compliant as at June 2020)
•    Ensuring new pdfs created after September 2020 are accessible
•    Ensuring new videos have subtitles

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 15 June 2020. It was last reviewed on 15 June 2020.
This website was last tested on 27 May 2020 for user-journeys and ease of finding content. The test was carried out by internal staff at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
We used this approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test:
•    Most-accessed content
•    Range of content types
•    Range of subject matter
We are currently looking into external testing (15 June 2020).

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