Accessible documents statement

This policy explains how accessible the documents on Lincolnshire County Council's website are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of documents. It does not cover content published on our website as html.  Our accessibility statement covers html content.

Using our documents

We publish documents in a range of formats, including:-

  • PDF
  • Excel
  • Word
  • PNG

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:

  • are just photocopies and are not marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
  • are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not written in plain English

This mostly applies to our:

  • register of landowner deposits
  • definitive map modification orders
  • major road scheme plans and legal orders
  • some of our policy and strategy documents

These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible.

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 contact us.

We’ll consider the request and get back to you in [number] 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, contact us.

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).

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 publish 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

Success criterion 1.1.1: non-text content 

Some of our documents have diagrams and, or tables. Some of these do not have a text alternative, so the information in them isn’t available to people using a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). 

Success criterion 1.3.1: info and relationships 

Some of our documents do not identify headings, lists or data tables correctly. This means users using screen readers may not be able to follow the structure of a document, which in turn may affect their ability to access and understand the information. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). 

Success criterion 1.3.2 meaningful sequence 

Some of our documents have an incorrect reading order. This may confuse or disorient users when assistive technology reads the content in the wrong order. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence). 

Success criterion 1.4.5: images of text 

Some of our documents contain images of text to convey information, rather than plain text. This means users either using a text-only browser or using assistive technology may not be able to understand the image of text. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.5 (images of text). 

Success criterion 2.4.4: link purpose (in context) 

Some links in our documents do not contain context in the link text. This makes it hard for users using assistive technology to understand what the link is for, and where they would be directed to if clicked. This doesn’t meet the WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (link purpose (in context)). 

We have reviewed and prioritised our documents. We aim to remediate those that are most used and are essential to providing our services by 30 September 2022.

A few of our documents have diagrams. These images do not have a text alternative, so 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).

We plan to add text alternatives for all diagrams by September 2022. When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams meets accessibility standards.

Disproportionate burden

Some of our PDFs are not accessible but it would be a disproportionate burden to update, particularly those which are extremely long and used by a low number of people. 

Content that’s 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’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. By September 2022, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

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 Lincoln Eastern Bypass statement of case documents.

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 on 15 April 2021. The test was carried out by Silktide.

We tested all our documents.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

  • We have reviewed and prioritised our documents. We aim to remediate those that are most used and are essential to providing our services.
  • We are raising awareness across the organisation of the accessibility requirements
  • We provide information to all staff to ensure that standards are maintained
  • We aim to make externally procured materials fully accessible.  We will provide guidance to contractors
  • We are creating corporate reports as HTML rather than PDF where possible
  • We are converting to HTML (where possible) as documents come up for review

This page was prepared on 6 August 2021. It was last updated on 6 August 2021.