As Clerk, what do I have to do?
- Check your website or mobile app for any accessibility problems.
- Make a plan to address these problems and fix these 'within reason'.
- Draft and publish your website accessibility statement.
Where can you find guidance?
The Government has published a lot of information and here is a link to the relevant page. The National Association of Local Councils have also published guidance which is available to our members to download here using the NALC login supplied to your clerk.
This Government guidance includes how to check how accessible your website is and how to make a plan to fix it.
Check out the Compton Dando Parish Council website for an example Accessibility Statement
The parish council have a section as part of a community website and therefore we have no control in relation to the layout and settings.
ALCA has always recommended that the council should have its own website, because the council is a public body. There was good take up of the Transparency Code grant for this purpose, however we accept that this may still apply to some smaller councils. If as a council you share a community site, it is vital that the Clerk can upload content to ensure the council meets legal requirements.
That the council uses a community website is not enough to declare a disproportionate burden. In order to consider if compliance is a disproportionate burden you will still need to carry out an assessment, in fact it is a legal requirement to before you make such a declaration. See the NALC guidance for further details
Should the internal audit include website accessibility compliance?
This may be a feature as a check that needs to be made in the future, in the same way that Transparency Code compliance took a few years to bed in. ALCA will review the Internal Audit checklist in due course
Can you give me an example of what the 'link wording' should look like?
Links should make sense in isolation (think about a user with a disability using a screen reader). It is good practice to write a link text as an action starting with a verb, a good example would be:
Send the clerk an email or find out more about your councillors.
We have heard the 'wave accessibility tool' is useful.
We have had a look at this - it seems useful and might be helpful. To find out more about the wave accessibility tool visit this website.
Is it true that a PDF document cannot be read by a 'reader'?
A portable document format (PDF) is created in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. In the local council sector this is usually for Agendas and Minutes but also includes policies. We understand some readers work with PDF documents but we would recommend councils making sure the original word document formatting is reviewed and assessed for the purposes of accessibility. This includes making sure heading and sub-heading formatting is used, there is alternative text for images (excludes logos), data tables etc. To gain assistance on adding accessibility into Microsoft Word documents prior to conversion to PDF format please visit the Microsoft Enable website.
Despite formatting my word document correctly, when I check the converted PDF document it says there are no headers.
Not sure why this is the case and it may affect readers if this problem persists then you will need to mention it in your Accessibility Statement but keep this under review.
Can I convert a word document into HTML format?
Yes you can - here is a link to some guidance.
In relation to the initial evaluation - should or can the clerk do this?
Your council should decide who is best placed to do the initial evaluation, which might be the clerk.
Can parts of the website be compliant?
Whatever is not compliant should be included in your Website Accessibility Statement.
Who polices the website for compliance?
If councils do not comply, they could receive requests from a member of the public for compliant information. If the council fails to do this, it could be reported to the enforcing body, in this case the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
What version of Word has the website accessibility checker?
We know it is available in Office 365 and that it can be used for 2013 and 2016 formatted documents. Here is a link to a helpful video tutorial.
What is the best way to link to another page on the website?
Make sure the link text is descriptive and makes sense in isolation.
.gov.uk youtube LINK