This policy explains how accessible the documents the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) 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 Intellectual Property Office (IPO) publishes documents in a range of formats, including:
- MS Word
- Microsoft Excel
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:
- do not have a logical reading and navigation order
- do not contain nested headings
- contain text or images with a low contrast ratio
- do not contain descriptive titles
- contain tables with merged cells
- contain diagrams and images with no alternative text
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:
We’ll consider your request and get back to you within 10 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:
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 Intellectual Property 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 Intellectual Property 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
The logical reading and navigation order of some documents has not been correctly set. This can cause problems for keyboard and assistive technology users, who may not be able to correctly navigate and read a document. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.2 level A.
Some of the documents contain headings which are not in a logical nested order. This can cause confusion for users when using the keyboard or assistive technologies to navigate. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 Level A and 2.4.6 level AA.
Some documents contain text or images which have a contrast ratio of less than 3:1. This can cause problems for all users, especially those with low vision. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.4.3 level AA.
Descriptive titles have not been used for some spreadsheet worksheets. This can cause problems for assistive technology users when trying to determine the purpose of the worksheet. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 2.4.2 level A.
Some documents and spreadsheets contain tables with merged cells. This can cause navigation problems for screen reader users as the same number of table rows and columns are not maintained. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.3.1 level A.
Some of our documents have diagrams and images which have insufficient, irrelevant or no alternative text. This can cause problems for screen reader users when trying to understand the content and function of a diagram or image. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 level A.
We are reviewing the documents which do not meet the accessibility requirements in order of frequency of use and plan to have completed this work by 31 December 2021.
Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations
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 research documents or patent journal notices.
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 in September 2020. The test was carried out by staff in the department.
We tested these documents based on how often people look at them and whether they’re essential to providing our services.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
The Intellectual Property Office is:
- updating older documents to be accessible
- making sure new documents are accessible before they are published
- publishing documents in HTML where possible, rather than PDF
- training staff to make sure they are aware of the importance of accessibility, and how to make their documents accessible
This page was prepared on 16 September 2020. It was last updated on 21 September 2020.