Accessibility

This accessibility statement covers the www.welhat.gov.uk website and sub sites run by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites.

For example, that means you should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

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

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of our websites are not fully accessible:

  • some PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • live and archived video streams do not have captions
  • some of our systems suppplied by third parties are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard or on some mobile devices
  • some services provided through our online mapping tools are not fully accessible
  • our interactive maps and are not accessible to screen reader software and do not have sufficient colour contrast
  • some images do not have alternative text.

Feedback and contact information

We can provide information in different formats if needed, please contact us:

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we are not meeting accessibility requirements, email us at webadmin@welhat.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're not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Services (EASS).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We have teamed up with SignVideo to offer a video interpreting service for deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users. This free, secure service enables you to call us through a videophone, laptop, PC, smartphone or tablet.

You will be connected to a fully qualified British Sign Language interpreter who will relay the call to us.

Start a SignVideo call*

*Please note that this service isn't supported by Internet Explorer or Edge. To use this service, please use the Firefox or Chrome internet browser. If you are using the service for the first time, you will need to download a one-off Live plug-in which enables good video quality and ensures that your calls are secure.

View video explaining SignVideo.


Find out how to Contact us.

Technical information about this website's accessibility

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

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

  • Many documents are in less accessible formats, for example PDF. Non-HTML documents published on or after 23 September 2018 must have an accessible format. 
  • Some PDF documents do not have a title, language or tabbed reading order set. This fails WCAG success criterion 3.1.1 (Language of page),  2.4.2 (Page Titled) and 1.3.2 (Meaningful Sequence). 
  • Some images do not have alternative text. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).
  • Some pages on our sub sites do not have descriptive headings. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.6 (Headings and Labels).
  • Link text on some of our sub sites is not descriptive or unique. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).
  • Some pages on our sub sites have duplicate titles. This may make it difficult for users to orient themselves and find the right content. This fails WCAG 2.4.2 success criterion (Page Titled).

We are working on making all PDF documents providing essential services meet accessibility requirements. We plan to fix these by Januaury 2023. We are working on providing essential information such as our policies in an accessible html format by April 2023.

We are currently rebuilding our main council website and subsites in a new platform which is fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. We aim to complete this work by April 2023.

Disproportionate burden

We believe that fixing the accessibility problems with some content would be disproportionate because the relevant platforms will be retired soon.

PDFs and other documents

Most of our documents published after September 2018 are accessible. There are some exceptions to this which include:

  • complex documents aimed at specific audiences, such as the Local Plan Examination library
  • documents where the information is already available in an alternative accessible form, such as the weekly list of planning applications
  • documents provided in a specific format by third parties which we are unable to edit ourselves but are required to publish by law, such as our Budget Book or Annual Monitoring Report
  • documents designed specifically for printing which can not be made fully accessible.

We have assessed the cost of fixing these issues against the benefit it would provide to users and believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations. We are working with third party suppliers to improve the accessibility of the documents they provide.

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

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents 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 criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents.

We plan to fix these by January 2023.

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.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards, except where it is a disproportionate burden to do so.

Live video

Live video streams such as our council and committee meetings do not have captions. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.4 (captions - live).

We do not currently plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

Maps

The interactive mapping system we use to provide information about planning applications, ward boundaries and tree preservation orders is not fully accessible. We also use Google maps to provide information such as car park locations, this is also not fully accessible. 

We do not currently plan to make these accessible as maps are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

What we are doing to improve accessibility

We use the results from our testing to write an Accessibility Action Plan which we follow to improve the accessibility of all our websites.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was updated on 9 May 2022.  It was last reviewed on 20 June 2022.

This website was last tested on 20 June 2022. We carried out the tests using SiteMorse and axe.

We used this approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test.