Accessible documents at the Forestry Commission
This policy explains how accessible the documents Forestry Commission 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
The Forestry Commission publishes documents in a range of formats, including:
- PDF forms
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- CSV (Comma-Separated Values)
We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we aim 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
We will aim to make new documents we publish (and documents you need to download or fill in to access one of the services we provide) 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 tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
- are not written in plain English
- are online forms that are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
- contain images without a textual description
- include complex tables
- are forms which have guidance in a separate PDF to help completion
This mostly applies to our:
- corporate reports
- research and analysis reports
- statutory guidance
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
If you need a document we’ve published in a different format:
Strategic Development Team (Information and Communications)
620 Bristol Business Park
We’ll consider the request and get back to you in 15 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 our content team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Forestry 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 Forestry Commission 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
For all non-compliant documents published since 23 September 2018, we plan to fix these by September 2020. When we publish new documents, we’ll make sure our documents meet accessibility standards.
A few of our documents have diagrams with no text alternative. 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 diagrams have a text alternative.
Some of our documents have diagrams that do not meet the colour contrast ratio of at least 3:1. These diagrams may be difficult to see, or completely missed, by people with a visual impairment. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.11 (non-text contrast). When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our diagrams meet colour contrast requirements.
A few of our documents have diagrams that use colour as the only means of conveying information. The information in these diagrams may not be perceived by users with colour deficiencies. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.1 (use of colour). When we publish new documents we’ll make sure information is not only conveyed through colour, but also by another visual means.
Some of our forms do not have page functionality available for using a keyboard. This content cannot be operated through a keyboard or keyboard interface. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (keyboard). When we publish new forms we’ll make sure they meet keyboard requirements.
Some of our documents are published in an unstructured PDF. Headings, list items and paragraphs may not be recognised by a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). When we publish new documents we’ll make sure they are published with the appropriate structure.
Some of our spreadsheets may not be clearly structured with labelled tables, and labelled headings. Columns headings may be blank. Workbooks tabs may not have a clear title. This does not meet success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). When we publish new spreadsheets we’ll make sure they have an appropriate structure.
Some of our documents are published using tables to lay out text in columns on the page. This often hides content from the navigation pane or table of contents. This does not meet success criterion 2.4.6 (headings and labels) or success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). When we publish new documents we’ll make sure they do not use tables to lay out text.
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. For example, we do not plan to fix corporate reports.
Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.
Some of our documents contain maps. This does not meet a number of WCAG 2.1 success criterion, including 1.3, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1 and 3.2. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible. We will consider the use of maps in our documents and provide a text alternative if appropriate.
How we tested our documents
We tested a sample of our documents in September 2019. We manually sampled and tested a sample of pages to find accessibility issues.
- PDF documents
- Microsoft Excel documents
This included testing wording, formatting, colour contrasts, tables and how well documents could be navigated using a keyboard. We decided to test these types of document as, aside from HTML, these are the most commonly-used document formats in the Forestry Commission and are essential to users accessing our services. We also tested non-essential documents, such as leaflets.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
Forestry Commission is:
- updating corporate Word and PDF templates to an accessible format
- creating reports as HTML rather than PDF where possible
- raising awareness across the organisation and encouraging the use of clear English in reports
- training staff on meeting accessibility standards
This page was prepared on 20 September 2019. It was last updated on 23 September 2019.