We are committed to making this website as accessible as possible to all users, including users who may be blind, partially sighted, or have a physical disability. All pages are created with accessibility in mind and we have done this by adhering sensibly and practically to the guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG). We have aimed to meet all WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria along with as many Level AAA success criteria as possible.
This site also uses the recommended markup for WAI Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA), to allow ARIA-enabled Assistive Technologies (AT) to better interact with each page.
How the website is built for accessibility
The site uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the presentation and the layout. Screen reader users no longer have to listen to this information. As a result, screen reader users can use the screen reader's navigation keys to move around the site. Menus are grouped together in a logical and consistent fashion. Users can quickly use the "Skip to main content" link to get to the main content of the page.
The content has been written and formatted to make it accessible. For example:
- Headings are used to highlight sections of text
- Links use meaningful text
- Forms can be navigated using the tab key
- No client-side plugins (e.g. Flash, ActiveX or Java) are required for access or edit content (see Browser plugins section below for more information)
- Images have alternative text so if you can't see the image you can still understand what it contains
- Context-sensitive help shows information relevant to the page that you're currently on
- ARIA landmark roles are used to identify the key areas of the page to ARIA-enabled Assistive Technologies
The site is designed to be used either with a mouse and keyboard, or just with a keyboard. Keyboard users can use the tab key to move around the links, forms and buttons on each page. Some advanced interface functionality, such as drag-and-drop, have additional keyboard access and this is explained in the context-sensitive help on those pages.
Access keys are additional keyboard controls for people who have difficulty in using a mouse or other pointer-device. The following access keys are available on this site, following the UK Government standard assignments:
- S - Skip to the main content
- 6 - Help
- 8 - Terms and Conditions, includes disclaimer and copyright statement
- 9 - Feedback
- 0 - Accessibility Information (this page)
We also support the following access keys specific to this site:
- m - Consultation homepage
- o - List of consultations you are participating in
- x - Logout
At the time of writing the following browsers support access keys:
- Microsoft Edge / Internet Explorer for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key, then press Enter/Return (eg: ALT+S Return).
- Google Chrome, Firefox for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key (eg: ALT+S) or hold down both Shift and the ALT key and press the access key (eg: Shift+ALT+S).
- Opera: hold down the Shift key and press the Esc key to see a list of the available access keys.
- Safari for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key (eg: ALT+S).
- Macintosh: hold down the Control (CTRL) key and press the access key (eg: CTRL+S).
On form pages that use the Rich Text editor use the following keyboard shortcuts:
- ALT+F9 - Focus / jump to the menu bar
- ALT+F10 - Focus / jump to the toolbar
- ALT+F11 - Focus / jump to the element path
- ESC - Close menu / submenu / dialog (also gets you back to the editor area)
- Tab/Arrow - Navigate left / right through the menu / toolbar
No browser plugins are required to access or modify any content on the site. There is, however, additional functionality that can be made available through browser plugins if they are available on your computer:
- Progress-bar Uploader - If you have the Adobe Flash Player browser plugin installed on your computer then the progress-bar file uploader may use that if your browser does not already support HTML5. If you don't have the Flash plugin and your browser does not support HTML5 then you can still use the accessible file uploader to upload new files.
Documents on this site may use PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file format for the publication of large and complex documents. Please note that Adobe Acrobat documents can be converted to HTML or plain text using Adobe's web-based conversion service.
To view and print PDF files, you must have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader installed:
Alternatively, documents may also be published in Microsoft Word format. To view and print Microsoft Word files, you must either have Microsoft Word installed on your device or you can download Microsoft Word Viewer software (Microsoft Windows only):
Further help and information
You can get help with the accessibility features built into common desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones by reading My Computer My Way.
If you have any problems using this site with the keyboard or your Assistive Technology, e.g. screen reader, screen magnifier, text to speech, speech recognition, etc., please contact us to let us know and we'll do our best to help you and improve this site.
Please note: for advice on what information to include when you contact us, we recommend you read Contacting Organizations about Inaccessible Websites.
This accessibility statement was revised on 17th November 2016.