Accessible documents policy

This policy explains how accessible the documents the Charity Commission publishes on GOV.UK are.

This policy covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other document types. It does not cover content published as HTML: the GOV.UK accessibility statement covers that.

Using our documents

The Charity Commission publishes documents in a range of formats, including:

  • PDFs
  • Microsoft Office files, like Word (.DOC) and Excel (.XLS)
  • Open Document Format files, like Open Document Text (.ODT) and Open Document Sheets (.ODS)

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

  • provide a plain text web page (‘HTML’) option except where there is a clear need not to do so
  • tag headings and other parts of documents, so assistive technology can understand the page structure
  • include alternative text for non-decorative images, so people who cannot see them understand what they’re for
  • avoid using tables, except for presenting data
  • write in plain English

How accessible our documents are

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

We will fix any that are not accessible by the September 2020 deadline.

We know that our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) have accessibility issues. For example, they:

  • are not tagged properly - they do not contain proper headings
  • are not in plain English
  • convey information using images only
  • use tables for layout purposes
  • do not convey the purposes of links in a meaningful way
  • do not contain document properties, like the title or language
  • use colour combinations that do not have enough contrast

These issues mostly apply to:

  • PDF versions of our guidance
  • documents that go with our guidance, like infographics and checklists
  • forms and templates
  • corporate reports, like our annual report and accounts
  • case and inquiry reports from before April 2017

Most of these types of documents are exempt from the regulations. We have already made most of the information in these documents, like guidance, available as accessible HTML. We do not currently have plans to update the PDF versions.

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 something in a different format you can:

We’ll consider your request and get back to you within ten working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We always want 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 us at usability@charitycommission.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)

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

The Charity Commission 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 the Charity Commission publishes are not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. The non-accessible sections are listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is not accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

There are some template documents that users need to or can complete to use our services.

These include templates for:

  • declaration of trustee eligibility
  • governing documents

We’ll fix documents like this by September 2020. Some issues with our forms and templates are listed below.

Headings and structure

They are not tagged and structured with headings. This means the document structure is not understood by assistive technology.

They rely on visual cues to show the relationship between things like form labels and form fields. This is not understood by assistive technology.

This does not meet standard 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

They contain links that do not convey the purpose of the link in the link text or context.

This does not meet standard 2.4.4 (link purpose).

They use colour only to convey that text is a link.

This does not meet standard 1.4.1 (use of colour).

Images of text

They contain images of text where we could have used text.

This does not meet standard 1.4.5 (images of text).

Reading sequence

They contain information where the reading sequence can only be understood with visual cues. It is not maintained when using a screen reader.

This does not meet standard 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence).

Form fields

They contain form fields that cannot be understood as form fields without visual cues.

This does not meet standard 1.3.3 (sensory characteristics).

Using a keyboard

The template forms do not provide interactive form controls. They cannot be used with a keyboard.

This does not meet standard 2.1.1 (keyboard).

Document language

They do not have the default language set in the document properties.

This does not meet standard 3.1.1 (language of page).

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

The accessibility regulations don’t 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 PDF reports published before 23 September 2018.

Any new documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

Some accessibility issues with documents published before September 2018 are listed below.

Headings and structure

Some documents are not tagged and structured with headings. This means the document structure is not understood by a screen reader.

This does not meet standard 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

Images

Some documents convey information using images or diagrams only.

This does not meet standard 1.1.1 (non-text content).

Some documents contain links where the link purpose cannot be understood from the link text.

This does not meet standard 2.4.4 (link purpose (in context)).

Document titles

Some documents do not have descriptive titles. They show file names in the browser.

This does not meet standard 2.4.2 (page titled).

Colour contrast

Some of the colour combinations in infographics and images do not have enough contrast.

This does not meet standard 1.4.3 (contrast (minimum)).

How we tested our documents

Our digital content team last tested a sample of our documents in September 2019.

We looked at:

  • PDF versions of our guidance
  • documents published with our guidance, like checklists
  • PDF forms and templates

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We now:

  • publish all guidance and most other content in HTML
  • make sure any new PDFs we publish are accessible, including any produced by third parties
  • replace old, inaccessible PDFs with HTML where we can
  • publish any information in infographics as HTML as well
  • publish all data in CSV format where possible

This page was prepared on 1 November 2019. It was last updated on 1 November 2019.