Accessible documents policy

Find out which documents published by UK Space Agency are accessible, which are not accessible, and what the Agency is doing to improve our accessibility.


Using our documents

We publish documents in a range of formats, including PDF, MS Word and Excel and OpenDocument format. We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we:

  • include an HTML option where possible
  • include an Open Document Text file for forms
  • tag headings and other parts of relevant documents 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 are there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we are presenting data
  • write in plain English

How accessible our documents are

New documents we publish should be fully accessible. However, we know that some of our older documents are not fully accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are in a PDF format that not all assistive technologies are able to read
  • are in an image format (a scan or photocopy, for example) that cannot be understood through a screen reader
  • are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not written in plain English

What to do if you cannot use one of our documents

We are working to create accessible versions of any inaccessible documents covered by the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. If you require the information contained in an older document or in one of these newer documents before an accessible version has been created, please contact us.

Email: info@ukspaceagency.gov.uk

Address:

Communications team
UK Space Agency
Polaris House
North Star Avenue
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN2 1SZ
United Kingdom

Telephone:

+44 (0)20 7215 5000

We will consider the request and get back to you as soon as possible.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our documents. If you find any problems not listed on this page or you think we are not meeting accessibility requirements, email info@ukspaceagency.gov.uk.

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 are 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 we have published 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 accessible in a number of ways, including missing text alternatives and missing document structure.

Our PDFs and Word documents may not meet accessibility standards because, for example, they are not accessible to a screen reader because they have not been properly tagged/marked up in a compatible fashion.

Some of our PDF and MS Word documents include images without a text alternative. This means that 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).

Some of our PDFs contain complex tables with merged cells. This makes it difficult for people using a screen reader to determine the correct reading order. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships).

Some of our MS Excel spreadsheets may not be clearly structured with labelled tables, and labelled headings. Column headings may be blank. Workbooks tabs may not have a clear title. This does not meet success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships).

Some of the documents we publish that are produced by third parties are not fully compliant. For example some are missing the appropriate heading structure or alternative text for images. This does not meet success criterion 2.4.10 (section headings), or success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We inform third parties of our accessibility requirements but sometimes we have to publish documents at short notice that are not accessible.

Disproportionate burden

There are many historic PDF and other non-HTML documents on our website. We have reviewed our documents and prioritised which ones will be supplemented with an accessible version.

We consider that it would be a disproportionate burden to provide alternative formats for non-HTML documents that are now outdated, or accompany projects that are no longer ongoing or applicable, as well as those that originate from old scanned documentation.

We do not intend to make accessible versions of inaccessible documents that are not covered by the 2018 accessibility legislation. Many older documents are generally of historic interest only. If you would like one of these in an accessible format, email info@ukspaceagency.gov.uk, and we will see if we can help.

Content that is 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 are accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.10 (section headings).

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they are not essential to providing our services. For example, we do not plan to fix research and statistics documents published before that date.

Some of our pages contain video content produced before September 2020. These do not require updating.

How we tested our documents

We tested a sample of our documents during 2020. The test was carried out by staff in the Agency.

We tested a sample of:

  • PDFs
  • MS Word documents
  • Excel documents

We tested these documents based on a representative sample of content on our website, as well as those on the most-visited pages and those that provide our key services.

What we are doing to improve accessibility

We are working with teams in the Agency to make sure that all new documents we produce are accessible. We are also working to create accessible html versions of PDF documents that have been published since 23 September 2018 and any published before then that remain essential to our services.

We will continue to work to add text alternatives for key relevant images.

When we publish new documents we will make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

We will work to simplify tables for future documents and make sure they are tagged properly for screen readers.

We will make sure all new spreadsheets have an appropriate structure.

We will work to specify to any external designers who do business with us that they must supply accessible documents.

This page was last updated on 1 April 2022.