Accessibility Policy

Using our documents

Neasham  Parish Council publishes documents in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and in PDF (Portable Document Format) on its website. Links are also provided to other information. Material includes:

  • general information about the parish
  • how the Parish Council works
  • the Policies which the Parish Council adopts
  • information about its finance and administration
  • agendas and minutes of its meetings
  • general news

We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we would like to:

  • provide an HTML option where appropriate
  • 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

Our website and documents we publish on it should be fully accessible.

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible at present. For example:

  • some of our PDF documents may not be fully accessible to assistive technology
  • some parts of our reports are completed in handwriting
  • our contact form may not work fully with some assistive technologies.

This mostly applies to documents published before 23 September 2018, which are exempt from The  Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No 2) Regulations 2018 ('the Regulations') unless their content is needed for active administrative processes. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible, except where we need to update their content for current use. Documents published after 23 September 2018 will be updated where necessary for accessibility unless they comprise agendas and minutes of meetings held prior to 31 March 2021, which we do not intend to update.

What to do if you cannot use one of our documents
Please contact us if you have an access problem in relation to any document you require.

•    email
•    call 07915 611456
•    write to Neasham Parish Council  14 Teesway, Neasham, Darlington DL2 1QP

We'll consider the request and get back to you in 10 working days. We will try to provide you with a suitable alternative.

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 as above.

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 this website's accessibility

Neasham Parish Council is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Non accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible and non-compliant with the accessibility regulations in the following respects:

  • Limited accessibility of some office file formats: Following the completion of our conversion programme (see below) any such formats which remain inaccessible  will be treated as images wherever possible.
  • Skip links are not fully functional in some web browsers.
  • The Captcha Contact Form may not be usable by some technologies.

Disproportionate burden

We will perform disproportionate burden assessments as required which will be reviewed at least annually. Our current assessment addresses the first two issues in the preceding paragraph.

  • Limited accessibility of some office file formats: We will convert these documents to HTML format wherever possible . Except where bespoke treatment is required (e.g. for documents in tables) completion of this work is scheduled for 1 April 2021. All new future  web pages will be prepared in HTML wherever possible. New templates to enable minutes and bespoke documents to be uploaded in HTML will be developed as soon as practicable thereafter. Alt-txt will be provided where the need for this is identified. If we receive forms requiring manual completion (e.g. for our Annual Governance and Accountability Return) we will ask whether digital forms can be made available so that when completed they can be uploaded to the website. This work will be carried out on a voluntary basis. It would be a disproportionate burden to engage professional services to accelerate this work.
  • Limited 'skip links' functionality: We do not propose to take any action other than to monitor any reports we receive of user difficulty and in the light of any such reports to review whether further steps are desirable.
  • Captcha Contact Form: We will monitor technical developments for a satisfactory solution.

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents on  6 December 2020. We did our own testing on PDF documents. We selected sample PDF documents for testing by reference to their age and authorship, using accessibility checkers in both Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Testing of the other parts of the website was carried out by Adam Crute of AC Sound & Media using 'Accessibility Insights for Web' analysis tools.

What we're doing to improve accessibility

New pages for the web-site will be created in HTML wherever practicable. Having experimented in improving the accessibility of PDFs, we will prefer to convert our PDF documents to HTML wherever possible. We aim to convert most existing documents and update content by 1 April 2021 in time for our annual governance review. We will deal with any remaining documents (which are mainly tables in Word or Excel format, and establishing a suitable format for publishing our minutes) as soon as practicable thereafter. All documents will be checked for Alt Text being added where needed. Documents which cannot be dealt with as suggested above (e.g. manuscripts) and fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content) will wherever possible be treated as images.
In future, when we receive forms requiring manual completion, we will ask for digital copies to enable them to be made accessible on our web-site.

A process for auditing our performance of this plan will be added to our annual review process.

This policy was approved by Neasham Parish Council on 1 February 2021

Ref: 2021/02