Accessible documents policy

This policy explains how accessible the documents Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) publishes on GOV.UK are.

It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of documents. It does not cover content published on GOV.UK as HTML: the main GOV.UK accessibility statement will cover that.

Using our documents

DVLA publishes documents in a range of formats, including PDF, open document format, and CSV.

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 our services should be fully accessible.

However, we know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are not marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
  • are not tagged properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not written in plain English

Some of these are historic documents that are not essential to providing our services. These are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible.

But 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 email our External Communications team.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We’re always looking 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, email our External Communications team.

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).

If you are in Northern Ireland and use our vehicle services, contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

DVLA 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 DVLA publishes are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 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

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).

We plan to add text alternatives for all diagrams by September 2020. When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams meets accessibility standards.

Disproportionate burden

There are thousands of historic PDF documents on our website. We have reviewed and prioritised our documents. We aim to fix those that are most used and are likely to be of specific interest to people with a disability that could reduce their ability to read a document.

The vast majority of the documents are of historic interest only and we do not intend to make them accessible.

If you want a particular document in an accessible format email our External Communications team and we will see if we can help.

Content that is 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.

Some of our PDFs are essential to providing our services. For example, we have forms published as non-accessible PDFs. By September 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible alternatives.

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 we publish will meet accessibility standards as far as possible – though there are some instances where this will not be possible, for example on Welsh language PDFs where this is not technically feasible.

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents in June 2019. The test was carried out by staff in External Communications at DVLA.

We tested all the content we published between 23 September 2018 and 1 May 2019, for example forms and leaflets.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We have put guidance and procedures in place to ensure that all new documents that we produce are accessible. We will continue to review older documents to see if we can add features to make them more accessible to people using screen readers.

This page was prepared on 23 September 2019. It was last updated on 23 September 2019.