Using this website
This website is run by Essex County Council. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this 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 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.
AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability:
- make your mouse easier to use
- use your keyboard instead of a mouse
- talk to your device
- make your device talk to you
- make text larger
- change your colours
- magnify the screen
How accessible this website is
We know some parts of this website aren’t fully accessible:
- keyboard activated ‘skip to main content’ takes the user to the navigation first instead of the title of the content
- the search results page title uses h2 and not h1
- the search field does not have a descriptive label
- the ECC logo in the header does not have ALT text. This affects most pages.
- the list of options on the landing pages is not formed correctly. A screen reader reads it as a horizontal list with items separated by a comma. It needs to be a vertical list with a * before each item
- news stories are being generated with a duplicate HTML ID
- some of our video content is missing descriptive text in the iframe tag including the ‘what is a pre-paid card’ video on the Personal budgets page. This video also has automatic captions which don’t quite reflect the content.
We are working to resolve these issues and will have released them to the website by 23 September 2019.
What to do if you can’t access parts of this website
If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille email the Equalities and Partnerships Team at ECC.Equalities@essex.gov.uk.
We’ll consider your request and get back to you within 20 working days.
How we tested this website
We decided on a broad testing approach that would enable us to look beyond the Content Management System and include other key systems and features.
- a high-volume journey on our main website platform which would include all page templates including home, landing, information and search results
- the Apply for a Blue Badge process which uses AchieveForms. This is our main forms provider and an important one to prioritise
- the Find a Childcare Provider map which is a legacy piece of development work
- the Children and Families Directory of services (5.83MB, PDF) which is an interactive PDF
- HotJar which we are using to gather user feedback
- GovDelivery which is our e-newsletter system
Technical information about this website’s accessibility
Essex County Council is committed to making its website 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 listed below.
Issues with technology
Many of our older PDFs and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be marked up so they’re accessible to a screen reader.
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 have created a register of PDFs which are essential for service delivery and are working through these to create HTML pages and forms. This work will be completed by 23 September 2020.
We understand that the regulations don’t require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018, if they’re not essential to providing our services. However, if you need information in an alternative format, email the Equalities and Partnerships Team at ECC.Equalities@essex.gov.uk.
Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish from 1 September 2019 onwards will meet accessibility standards.
Issues with images, video and audio
Live video streams don’t have captions.
Whilst we understand that live video streams are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations, we realise that this is still an important part of our web content. However, we will be focusing our efforts on increasing the accessibility of other areas
Issues with interactive tools and transactions
Our forms are built and hosted using a third party product. We are in the process of upgrading all of our forms to the latest version of this product.
The vendor states that ‘citizen facing products are being updated to ensure they meet all required elements of the accessibility directive that require implementation in the EN 301 549 mandate.’
The Shaw Trust has identified the following issues with our current forms:
- when mandatory fields are left blank, the screen reader is left on the ‘Next’ button as they try to progress rather than being taken to the top of the page and notified of the missing information.
Other accessibility issues
We use a pop-up poll to capture user feedback on the website. The Shaw Trust has identified the following accessibility issues:
- the survey page has a missing heading 2 and 3
- the poll pop-up has ambiguous form fields where the Yes No radio buttons are not related to the question
- the default language has not been set
We use an external e-newsletter provider to manage our e-newsletter delivery. The Shaw Trust has identified the following accessibility issues:
- the e-newsletter selection has unlabelled form fields
In all cases we are working with suppliers to resolve the issues.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
This statement was prepared on 26 June 2019.
We are working to resolve all identified accessibility issues which are within our control and will release them to the website by 23 September 2019.
We are working with suppliers to resolve any identified accessibility issues where we do not have direct control over their product.
Reporting accessibility problems with this website
We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations, email the Content Team at email@example.com.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing 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 by phone or visiting us in person
We provide a text relay service for people who are D/deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment.
Our offices have audio induction loops, or if you contact us before your visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
Telephone: 0345 743 0430
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm
or, Visit us.
If you can’t view the map on our Visit us page, call or email us.