Accessibility statement for The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)

Updated 25 April 2024

Applies to England

This statement applies to the main Ofqual website and to other websites and online services managed by Ofqual.

Ofqual want as many people as possible to be able to use our website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate using just a keyboard
  • navigate using speech recognition software
  • listen to content using Immersive Reader, Narrator, Voiceover or latest versions of 3rd-party products like JAWS or Supernova.

We have tried to make text easy to understand but do use legal and technical language where necessary.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible our digital services and websites are

We know some parts of our website and services are not fully accessible:

  • older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • some live video streams and webinars may not have captions
  • older videos may not have subtitles or transcripts
  • some of our interactive tools for selecting and viewing data cannot be accessed using just a keyboard, or using assistive technology
  • online forms on some of our older websites are difficult to use using just a keyboard

Feedback and contact information

If you need to access information which is on our websites and are not able to do so because the format is inaccessible to you contact us to discuss your needs:

Submit your enquiry online
Telephone 0300 303 3344

We will consider your request and reply within 7 days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

If you have difficulty using our websites and digital services or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact our Public Enquiries Team by:

Submit your enquiry online
Telephone 0300 303 3344

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).

Contacting us or visiting us in person

If you are invited to visit us in person we have level access throughout our offices and accessible bathrooms.

Car parking is available close by with lift access to ground level. It is necessary to go outdoors to move from the car park to the office for all visitors.

If you require a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter to enable you to participate in a meeting or event contact us beforehand and we will arrange this.

Our reception team may require us to complete a personal  emergency evacuation plan for any visitors with limited mobility. If this is required we will ask for your help to prepare it.

Find out how to contact us.

Technical information about Ofqual’s website accessibility

Ofqual is committed to making our website accessible and achieving at least the requirements of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

Most of our website and associated digital services meet level AA of the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. We are aware of the following non-compliance.

Non-accessible content

The Ofqual Portal

We recognise that our awarding organisation (AO) extranet ‘the Portal’ is not fully accessible. In September 2020 we said that it would be a disproportionate burden to make the Portal accessible but have since revised this view. The Ofqual Portal contains a large variety of content and interaction types. As new services are developed, and legacy services are redeveloped, user interfaces that do not meet the required accessibility standards will be replaced by ones that conform to WCAG 2.2 AA level.

Live video

Our meeting and webinar software, Microsoft Teams, allows for automated live captions to be enabled by the user, and this should be available for most meetings and webinars arranged by Ofqual. It may not always be the case that live captions are available for all our events depending on the technology used.

Disproportionate burden

Interactive analytics

Content within our interactive analytics is not navigable by keyboard, does not make non-text content available to assistive technologies and is not adaptable. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (non-text content), 1.3.1 (info and relationships), 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence) and 1.3.3 (sensory characteristics).

We’ve assessed the cost of fixing the issues with navigation and accessing information, and with interactive tools and transactions. We believe that doing so would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations. The data which supports these tools is available in more accessible formats such as downloadable spreadsheets. We will continue to explore how we might make our interactive data tools accessible in the future.

Board papers

Until 2021, Board papers and minutes that detail the discussions and actions of the Ofqual Board were contained within PDF documents that were sometimes redacted and not accessible to assistive technologies. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (non-text content), 1.3.1 (info and relationships) and 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence).

We will not be making accessible historical documents relating to the Board as we believe doing so would be too burdensome. But we have published our Board papers in accessible format since 2021.

National statistics and official statistics

Some of our statistical bulletins produced after 23 September 2018 are not compliant with WCAG 2.1. We are not planning to produce accessible versions of these documents as this would be too burdensome.

We do now publish statistical bulletins in an HTML or other accessible formats.

The Register of Regulated Qualifications

Pages on The Register of Regulated Qualifications do not have a proper heading order. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships).

The advanced search page on The Register of Regulated Qualifications does not have labels for some input elements. This fails WCAG 2.1 criterion 3.3.2 (labels or instructions).

The Register of Regulated Qualifications is being redeveloped during 2024 and will be replaced with a version, using the Government Design System, that is compliant with WCAG 2.1 level AA.

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

PDFs and other documents attached to pages

Many of our older PDFs, and other documents attached to web pages, 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 criteria:

  • 1.1.1 (non-text content)
  • 1.3.1 (info and relationships)
  • 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence)
  • 1.4.10 (reflow)
  • 2.4.3 (focus order)
  • 4.1.2 (name, role, value)

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 our archive of research documents or our National and Official Statistics publications.

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

How we tested this website

This website was last tested in December 2021. The test was carried out by Ofqual staff.

We tested:

For our main website we used the following approach to decide on a sample of pages to test. For each type of content, we have published on our website, a random selection of 2 items were chosen to test. Both the web page and the attachments on it were tested against the success criteria for WCAG 2.1 AA compliance.

The other websites are generated programmatically; for these we ran an automated test tool to indicate our level of compliance.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

At Ofqual making our information and services accessible to our whole audience is a team effort. We do this by:

  • considering accessibility at the start of our projects, and throughout
  • making accessibility the whole team’s responsibility and educating colleagues on the importance of accessible publications
  • making sure no new content is produced solely in PDF
  • researching with users
  • using a library of Government accessible components and patterns
  • designing and building to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)
  • prioritising accessibility remedial work in all new development and improvement projects

We are making sure that accessibility issues highlighted in this statement are being prioritised and fixed. Measures include:

  • removing or replacing older PDFs with more accessible content
  • ongoing improvements to Ofqual’s digital services with a focus on accessibility
  • working with suppliers to improve the accessibility of their products
  • key documents being made available in accessible HTML formats where feasible to do so
  • the experts gateway being replaced in 2023 with the Subject Matter Specialists system, which has been developed using the Government Design System to comply with WCAG 2.1 AA level
  • as new services are developed, and legacy services are redeveloped, user interfaces that do not meet the required accessibility standards will be replaced by ones that conform to WCAG 2.2 AA level
  • the Register of Qualifications functionality is being redeveloped during 2024 and will be replaced with a version, using the Government Design System, that is compliant with WCAG 2.1 level AA

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 21 September 2020. It was last updated on 25 April 2024.