Accessible documents policy

Accessible documents at Crown Commercial Service

This policy explains how accessible the documents Crown Commercial Service publishes on GOV.UK are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document. It does not cover content published on GOV.UK as HTML: the main GOV.UK accessibility statement will cover that.

Using our documents

Crown Commercial Service publishes documents in a range of formats, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we make sure to:

  • provide an HTML option where possible
  • tag headings and other parts of the document properly, so screen readers can understand the page structure
  • make sure we include alt text alongside non-decorative images, so people who cannot see them understand what they’re there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re 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 one of the services we provide should be fully accessible.

However, we know that some of our older documents are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not written in plain English
  • are not an open format (they are saved as Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
  • PDFs have not been changed over to html

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 a document we’ve published in a different format:

We’ll consider the request and get back to you in 5 days.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our documents. If you find any problems not listed on this page or you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact:

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

Crown Commercial Service 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 Crown Commercial Service publishes are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non accessible content

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

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

Success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content)

A few of our documents have diagrams. These images do not have a text alternative, so the information in them is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams meets accessibility standards.

Success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships)

Some of our documents are not properly tagged and do not identify headings, paragraphs or list items correctly. This means users using screen readers may not be able to follow the structure of a document, which may affect their ability to access and understand the information. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

Some of our documents contain complex tables with merged cells. This makes it difficult for people using a screen reader to determine the correct reading order. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (information and relationships).

Success criterion 1.4.5 (images of text)

Some of our documents contain images of text to convey information, rather than plain text. This means users either using a text-only browser or using assistive technology may not be able to understand the image of text. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.5 (images of text).

Some links in our documents do not have descriptive link text. This makes it hard for users using assistive technology to understand what the link is for, and where they would be directed to if clicked. This does not meet the WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (link purpose (in context)).

Success criterion 3.1 (readable)

Some of the content of our documents is not written clearly and contain terms that the reader may be unfamiliar with or acronyms that have not been explained. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.1.

We aim to fix these issues within the next 6 months, fixing the most frequently used documents first.

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

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.

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents in September 2020.

We tested:

  • PDFs

  • MS Word documents

  • MS Excel documents

  • MS PowerPoint documents

We tested these documents based on when they were published and whether they are essential to providing our services.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We’re working through the non-accessible documents on this page to provide them in an open format or as a html page.

This page was prepared on 24 September 2020. It was last updated on 24 September 2020.