Accessible documents policy

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

This policy explains how accessible the documents DVSA 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 covers that.

Using our documents

DVSA publishes documents in a range of formats, including HTML, PDF, OpenDocument format, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel 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 the services we provide 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 up 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 types of documents 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

Contact the DVSA publishing team if you need a document we’ve published in a different format.

DVSA Publishing team
gov.uk.publishing@dvsa.gov.uk

Publishing Team
DVSA
Berkeley House
Croydon Street
Bristol
BS5 0DA

We’ll consider the request and get back to you in 7 working 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 the DVSA publishing team.

DVSA Publishing team
gov.uk.publishing@dvsa.gov.uk

Publishing Team
DVSA
Berkeley House
Croydon Street
Bristol
BS5 0DA

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

DVSA 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 DVSA 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

Some of our technical manuals are not written in plain English and we do not publish a version that does not require an advanced reading level. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.1.5 (reading level).

We plan to help the authors of these manuals to simplify the language in them by September 2020. When we publish new documents, we make sure they’re written in plain English.

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

Some of our PDFs are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDF forms that 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).

We plan to either fix or replace them with accessible alternatives by September 2020.

Disproportionate burden

There are lots 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 the DVSA publishing team.

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).

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. For example, we do not plan to fix PDF copies of our older annual reports and accounts.

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 on 31 October 2019. The test was carried out by staff at DVSA.

We tested:

  • PDF forms
  • PDF documents
  • OpenDocument format documents

We tested these documents based on how often people look at them and whether they directly relate to services aimed at disabled people.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We have put guidance and processes in place to make sure all new documents we produce are accessible.

We publish in HTML format wherever possible to make our content as accessible as possible.

We’re reviewing older PDF documents, editing them, and republishing them in HTML.

We’re reviewing PDF forms to add features to make them accessible to people using screen readers.

We’re giving staff in DVSA training about how to write clearly. We’re also working with teams who are responsible for our services and information to help them understand accessible needs.

This page was prepared on 5 November 2019. It was last updated on 5 November 2019.