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In line with government advice our reception at Bridgwater House remains closed. You can contact us by calling 0300 303 7800 or by emailing customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk

Accessible documents at Sedgemoor District Council


This policy explains how accessible the documents Sedgemoor District Council publishes on www.sedgemoor.gov.uk are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document. It does not cover content published on www.sedgemoor.gov.uk as HTML; the Accessibility statement for Sedgemoor District Council will cover that.


Using our documents

Sedgemoor District Council publishes documents in a range of formats, including PDF documents, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Comma-separated Value spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

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 scans or 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.

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

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:

We will consider your request and get back to you within 10 working days.


Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our documents. If you find any problems not listed on this page or you think we are not meeting accessibility requirements, please email digital.engagement@sedgemoor.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 are 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

Sedgemoor District Council is committed to making our documents accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The documents Sedgemoor District Council publishes 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 accessibility regulations

A portion of our documents are produced by bespoke software, which does not output files that are fully WCAG 2.1 compliant. The following software is used by Sedgemoor District Council, which may not produce entirely accessible documents:

  • Objective Keystone - this produces our Local Plan.
  • Mapinfo - this produces geographical data (maps). Please note that maps are exempt from accessibility requirements, but where a map is included as part of a larger document, we will endevour to make the rest of the document as accessible as possible.

Where third party software is known to cause accessibility issues, we will work with the software supplier(s) to rectify this as soon as possible.

Disproportionate burden

Sedgemoor District Council makes many internal documents available for public consumption via internally developed web applications, which allow customers to access specific details of individual cases that Sedgemoor District Council has processed by interrogating vast databases of information.

The following web applications on our website publish documents for public consumption:

  • Planning Online - 466,888 documents
  • Licensing Online - Approximately 12,000 documents
  • Committee Meetings - 6,057 documents

(These figures were correct at the time of writing on 12th August 2020.)

Many of these documents originate from external organisations or members of the public, so we are not able to modify them.

Content that is not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

  • 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. Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.
  •  We are not required to address documents that were not produced by Sedgemoor District Council, unless those documents were commissioned by Sedgemoor District Council. For example, we are not required to address consultee comments on Planning or Licensing Applications.
  • We are not required to address maps, if the map accounts for the entire contents of the document. However, where do use maps, we will ensure that any information indicated on the map is also available as a text-based alternative.

How we test our documents

We continually test samples of our documents. Tests have been carried out by a combination of external testers SiteImprove and Silktide, side by side with our own internal testing. We will continue to do this and react to results accordingly.


What we're doing to improve accessibility

We are continually promoting awareness of WCAG accessibility guidelines within Sedgemoor District Council and will endeavour to ensure that all documents published henceforth meet accessibility requirements.

We will continue to assess externally sourced tools and improve upon internally developed systems to ensure that they meet accessibility requirements.

We will continue to assess the viability of addressing documents identified in the Disproportionate Burden section of this page.

This page was prepared in August 2020. It was last updated on 21st September 2020.