Accessible documents policy

This accessibility statement applies to documents published by the Home Office.

Using our documents

The Home Office publishes documents in a range of formats, including: PDF, Word, Excel, CSV, ODT and ODS.

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 a plain text webpage (‘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 alternative text alongside non-decorative images, so people who can’t see them can understand what they’re there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
  • use plain English whenever possible

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 photocopies or in a print format and aren’t marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
  • aren’t tagged up properly - for example, they don’t contain proper headings

We don’t currently have plans to make these documents accessible, but if you need to access information in them, 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, please contact us:

Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7035 4848

Textphone: 020 7035 4742 for Deaf and hard of hearing people

Post:

Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

As part of providing documents in another way, we will need to send you messages or documents. Tell us how you want us to send messages and documents to you. Tell us if you need them in a different format, for example large print, audio recording or braille.

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 please contact us:

Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7035 4848

Textphone: 020 7035 4742 for Deaf and hard of hearing people

Post:

Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Enforcement procedure

In England, Wales and Scotland, 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).

In Northern Ireland, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland 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 Commission for Northern Ireland.

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

The Home Office 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 the Home Office 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 documents are not properly tagged, or do not use accessible headings or structures. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for navigation set out in standard 2.4.6 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

We plan to tag and use accessible headings and structures in all documents published after 23 September 2018 by September 2020.

When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of tagging, headings and content structures meets accessibility standards.

Some of our documents include diagrams and other visual elements presented without a text alternative. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for perception set out in standard 1.1.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

We plan to add text alternatives to visual elements in all documents produced after 23 September 2018, that fail to meet the accessibility guidelines, by September 2020. When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams and other visual elements meet accessibility standards.

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

Some of our documents were produced in a print format before 23 September 2018. This type of document cannot be read by screen readers and other forms of assistive technology, so it fails to meet the success criteria for perception set out in standard 1.1.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

Some of our documents produced before 23 September 2018 are not properly tagged, or do not use accessible headings or structures. This means that they do not meet the success criteria for navigation set out in standard 2.4.6 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.

Some of our documents produced before 23 September 2018 are essential to providing our services. For example, we may still have some PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms that are not accessible. By September 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

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. We don’t plan to fix:

  • non-statutory guidance that doesn’t relate to the provision of a service
  • consultation responses
  • policy papers
  • independent reports
  • corporate reports
  • correspondence
  • research and statistics
  • transparency data
  • Freedom of Information releases

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

You can request details of any information excluded from the scope of the Regulations by contacting us:

Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7035 4848

Textphone: 020 7035 4742 for Deaf and hard of hearing people

Post:

Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents on 12 August 2019. The test was carried out by the Home Office GOV.UK Content Team.

We tested:

  • PDF, Word, Excel and ODT documents
  • 10% of Home Office PDF documents
  • all Home Office forms which have had more than 100 unique page views in the past year

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We’re improving accessibility by carrying out accessibility checks on all our new documents.

We’re reviewing the accessibility of older documents that are covered by the accessibility regulations, starting with the ones which are being used the most and getting the highest number of unique page views.

We’re training our staff to create accessible documents. We are implementing processes and requirements to ensure that all Home Office publications must meet the accessibility requirements in WCAG 2.1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA.