Accessible documents policy

Accessible documents at High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

This policy explains how accessible the documents that HS2 Ltd publishes on GOV.UK are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of documents. It doesn’t cover content published on GOV.UK as HTML: the main GOV.UK accessibility statement will cover that.

Using our documents

We publish documents in a range of formats, including PDF, MS Word and Excel format.

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

  • 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 can’t see them understand what they’re there for;
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data; and
  • write in plain English

How accessible our documents are

New documents we publish and documents you need to download should be fully accessible.

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

  • aren’t marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them;
  • don’t contain ALT-text for images;
  • aren’t tagged properly - for example, they don’t contain proper headings; and
  • aren’t 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 don’t 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 can’t use one of our documents

If you need a document we’ve published in a different format contact our Helpdesk:

email: phone: 08081 434 434 minicom: 08081 456 472

Alternatively you can write to us at:

HS2 Community Hub High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd Two Snowhill Snow Hill Queensway Birmingham B4 6GA

We’ll consider the request and get back to you within 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 that aren’t listed on this page or you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact our digital publishing 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).

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

We are committed to making our documents accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The documents HS2 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 the documents we publish are produced by third parties. We are not always able to make these fully compliant, for example adding alternative text to images or diagrams. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We have informed 3rd parties of our accessibility requirements but sometimes we have to publish documents at short notice that are not accessible. Where possible, we try to fix these as soon as we can.

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 the HS2 Helpdesk, and we will see if we can help.

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

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.10 (section headings).

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.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

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 are working with our partners to help them create accessible documents. We are working on making documents easier to find.

We would also suggest you use our website [](] as an alternative where we often have alternative, accessible content such as our interactive map description text and optimised pages.

This page was prepared on 23 September 2019. It was last updated on 23 September 2020.