We are committed to making this website as accessible as possible to all users, including users who may be blind, partially sighted, or have a physical disability. All pages are created with accessibility in mind and we have done this by adhering sensibly and practically to the guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG). We have aimed to meet all WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria along with as many Level AAA success criteria as possible.
This site also uses the recommended markup for WAI Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA), to allow ARIA-enabled Assistive Technologies (AT) to better interact with each page.
How the website is built for accessibility
The site uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the presentation and the layout. Screen reader users no longer have to listen to this information. As a result, screen reader users can use the screen reader's navigation key to get around the site. Menus are grouped together in a logical and consistent fashion. Users can quickly use the "skip navigation" link to get to the main content of the page.
The content has been written and formatted to make it accessible. For example:
- Headings highlight sections of text
- Links use meaningful text
- Forms can be navigated using the tab key
- No client-side plugins (e.g. Flash, ActiveX) are required (a Flash plugin can be used if available, but is not required)
- Images have alternative text (so if you can't see the image you can still understand what it contains)
- Context-sensitive help shows information relevant to the page that you're currently on
- ARIA landmark roles are used to identify the key areas of the page to ARIA-enabled Assistive Technologies (AT)
The site is designed to be used either with a mouse and keyboard, or just with a keyboard. Keyboard users can use the tab key to get around the links and buttons on each page. Some advanced interface functionality, such as drag-and-drop, have additional keyboard access and this is explained in the context-sensitive help on those pages.
Access keys are additional keyboard controls for people who have difficulty in using a mouse or other pointer-device. The following access keys are available on this site, following the UK Government standard assignments:
- S - Skip navigation
- 1 - Site home page
- 4 - Search for consultations
- 6 - Help
- 8 - Terms and Conditions, includes disclaimer and copyright statement
- 9 - Feedback
- 0 - Accessibility Information (this page)
We also support the following access keys specific to this site:
- m - Consultation homepage
- o - List of consultations you are participating in
- x - Logout
At the time of writing the following browsers support access keys:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key, then press Enter/Return (eg: Alt+S Return).
- Google Chrome, Firefox for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key (eg: Alt+S) or hold down both Shift and the ALT key and press the access key (eg: Shift+Alt+S).
- Opera: hold down the Shift key and press the Esc key to see a list of the available access keys.
- Safari for Windows: hold down the ALT key and press the access key (eg: Alt+S).
- Macintosh: hold down the Control key and press the access key (eg: Ctrl+S).
On form pages that use the Rich Text HTML editor press Alt+0 whilst the caret (text cursor) is inside the editor to show instructions on how to navigate the editor using the keyboard and a screen reader.
Documents on this site may use PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file format for the publication of large and complex documents. Please note that Adobe Acrobat documents can be converted to HTML or plain text using Adobe's web-based conversion service.
To view and print PDF files, you must have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader installed:
Alternatively Documents may also be published in Microsoft Word format. To view and print Microsoft Word files, you must either have Word installed on your PC or you can download Microsoft Word Viewer software (Microsoft Windows only):
If you have any problems using this site with the keyboard or your assistive technology, e.g. screen reader, screen magnifier, text to speech, speech recognition, etc., please contact us to let us know and we'll do our best to help you and improve this site.
Please note: for advice on what information to include when you contact us, we recommend you read Contacting Organizations about Inaccessible Websites.
This accessibility statement was revised on 29th July 2013.