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Accessibility information

aAccessibility statement and policy

We've designed this website to be accessible and easy to use by anyone, whatever their age, background, how they access the internet or level of ability or disability. An accessible site is one designed for the full range of users. Designing for online accessibility means accepting there is no standard information user and no standard device for browsing information.

We aim to make sure as many people as possible can use this website, whether or not they have a physical impairment (such as loss of sight or restricted mobility), cognitive disability (such as dyslexia), or those who find English difficult. By making it easier for people with particular needs to use, we think it will make it easier for everyone to use.

We also make sure this website works on the broadest possible range of computer hardware and software and its use does not depend on having the highest specification equipment or latest browser. The site displays correctly with current and older types of browser. Using standard code means any future browsers will also display this website correctly. We constantly check the whole website remains accessible, easy to read and the information we publish accurate and up to date.

More information about the Council's commitment to accessibility, equality and diversity can be found in the following documents.

wFinding your way around the site

To help people find their way around the site we use:

  • The Accesskeys system, which gives links to main pages using short cut keys.
  • The Search appears on every page (top right) and allows you to search the whole site for specific information.
  • An A-Z to help you find pages quickly and easily.
  • A Site map which lists all the pages in each category of the website.
  • Breadcrumb trail - you can see what web page you are on by looking at the text that appears above the page title. You can click on any of the links in the path to return to pages you have looked at before. On this page it appears as You are here > Home > Council > Accessible services > Accessibility information.

The navigation is consistent across the whole site to make finding information easier and we use cascading style sheets. Certain pages including the A to Z, Search, Accessibility, Site Map, Terms and conditions, Privacy policy  and Contact us are available from every single page on the website. The main menus are also available from all the pages.

Information is arranged in topics and not by department.

bVisually impaired or language/reading difficulties

You can listen to this website by using Readspeaker which allows the text on the website to be read out loud to you. It provides you assistance if you have trouble reading text online. By having the text read out loud to you, you can understand the information on the website more easily. This makes the content more accessible and the website more pleasant to visit. As a user you don’t have to download anything.

The software is designed to help users with reading difficulties, mild vision difficulties or if English is not their first language. You will need a sound card and speakers on your computer to access this service.

More information about using the Readspeaker listen function.

For more information on technology (screen enlargers, screen readers, speech recognition systems, speech synthesisers, refreshable Braille displays, Braille embossers, talking word processors, large-print) for the visually impaired please visit the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)website. The RNIB Web Accessibility Toolbar(Beta) is a free plugin for Internet Explorer, designed to make adjusting certain options quicker and easier, using either the mouse or keyboard. The Accessibility Toolbar is a free download and currently in beta version.

The British Dyslexia Association website has information about accessibility issues people with Dyslexia may encounter.

mNo Minicom, but...

We no longer have a minicom system, as it was not well used and not cost effective to maintain. We are able to offer a hearing loop for visitors to the offices. This means those who are hard of hearing who have a hearing aid with a T-switch can use the loop to amplify what is being said at our reception and in our meeting rooms. This is available in our reception, council chamber and interview rooms.

We can also arrange to receive text messages, as most of our officers have mobile phones. As communication will usually be with individual officers, arrangements for this are made on a case by case basis and need to be requested.

Typetalk is a national telephone service for deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, deaf blind and speech-impaired people. By calling 18001Typetalk connects people who cannot speak or hear on the phone, with other people using a telephone, by providing a text-to-voice and voice-to-text relay service. Calls are charged at your telephone communication provider's standard rate - there is no additional charge for this service. Typetalk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

tDifficulty using a mouse

If you have difficulty using a mouse, follow these steps to help you find your way around web pages:

  • Use Tab on your keyboard which will move the cursor to links on the screen.
  • Press Enter when you get to a link you want.
  • Use page up and page down keys to move the page to an area you want to read.

jText size

We have decided to show people how to make changes to text sizes themselves, rather than having a button to press to change the sizes. By doing this we hope we can help users change the text size on any website they visit.

If the text size is too small or too large you can change it using the following instructions for your particular browser:

For many browsers you can press Ctrl and + to increase the text size, Ctrl and - to decrease the text size. Ctrl and 0 returns you to the default size.

For Internet Explorer browsers

Press ' Ctrl ' and ' + ' to increase the text size, ' Ctrl ' and ' - ' to decrease the text size. ' Ctrl ' and ' 0 ' returns you to the default size.

  • Open the ' View ' menu with your mouse, or by pressing ' Alt'+'V' .
  • Select the ' Text Size ' option with your mouse, or by pressing ' X ' .
  • Choose the text size you require with your mouse or by using the up and down arrow keys and pressing 'Enter' or by clicking on it.
  • If you have Internet Explorer 7 or later, you can also increase the text size using the zoom tool which is shown in the bottom right hand corner of the browser by a magnifying glass and 100%. Or go to Page in the top toolbar and select Zoom.

For Firefox browsers

  • Press ' Ctrl ' and ' + ' to increase the text size, ' Ctrl ' and ' - ' to decrease the text size. ' Ctrl ' and ' 0 ' returns you to the default size.
  • You can also open the ' View ' menu with your mouse, or by pressing ' Alt '+' V '.
  • Select the ' Text Size ' option with your mouse or by pressing ' S ' twice.
  • Increase or decrease the text size with your mouse or by using the up and down arrow keys and pressing 'Enter'.

For Opera browsers

  • You can easily make both text and graphics larger or smaller using the number pad ' + ' and ' - ' keys. Each press will increase or decrease the size by 10%.

For Google Chrome browsers

  • Click the "Control the current page" button, select "Text Zoom".
  • Select "Larger" or "Smaller", or "Normal" to make text the default size.
  • To make the web page text size larger via the keyboard: Ctrl + + on the numeric keypad (hold down Ctrl and press +), or Ctrl + = on the main keyboard

For Safari browsers

  • Select the Safari View menu to see the various options for adjusting text size.
  • To make the web page text size larger via the keyboard: To increase text size using your keyboard, simultaneously press and hold the Ctrl key and the plus (+) key.
  • To decrease text size, simultaneously press and hold the Ctrl key and the minus (-) key.
  • To return to a page's default text size, simultaneously press and hold the Ctrl key and the 0 (zero) key.

For more detailed information on changing your text size options permanently and for other accessibility settings available, including changing colour contrast, please visit the BBC's accessibility pages - My Web My Way. 

cDownloading documents

Documents are mainly provided in PDF(Portable Document Format) for downloading from the website. We have a lot of pdfs on the website and while these can be read by pdf reader and Readspeaker they may not all be fully accessible for people with screen readers. To view any document, you may need to download the appropriate reader:

  • PDFs (Portable Document Format). Throughout the site we have provided a link to download the free Adobe Readerneeded to open a PDF. The current version of Acrobat Reader has improved accessibility features and includes the facility to read the text out loud.
  • Word documents (.doc format) may be read using Microsoft Word 97 or a more recent version. If you do not use MS Word, a Word reader can be downloaded from:

We also use Comma Separated Values (CSV) files, alongside the pdf files. This type of file makes it easier for developers or interested parties to re-use our data. Unfortunately these files are not very accessible, which is why we also have a pdf version. More details about the documents can be found on opendata.

lUnable to open a pdf?

All pdfs on this website should open in Adobe Acrobat or Reader.

If you have any problems opening pdfs hold the cursor over the PDF link and right click the mouse. Select "Save target as". Save the pdf to an appropriate location then double-click on the file to open it in the new location.

zElectronic Forms (e-forms)

We use e-forms on the site to help you give us feedback, book things and request information. Our e-forms have been designed to be as easy to use and accessible as possible, but they do use Javascript. If you cannot access any of our e-forms, please contact us.


Some areas of our website, including maps, use JavaScript, which some people cannot access, although these technologies are now much more accessible than they used to be. In these areas, we do our best to give alternative ways of accessing the information.



Where images have been used we have added 'Alt' tags - text alternatives so you will still know what the image is meant to convey even if it does not load or if you have chosen to browse with the images switched off or you are using technology like a screen reader to browse the web page rather than view.



We have set up our tables to have relative width - they will resize themselves to fit your browser so you don't have to scroll to view them. We will only use tables on the site when they are the most appropriate way of presenting content and will ensure they are coded correctly, so people using assistive technologies such as screenreaders can access them.

rScreen resolution

The site is best viewed using a screen resolution of 800 x 600 or higher and is designed to be compatible with a wide range of browsers.


The search box, which is found at the top right of our website, lets you perform a simple search. You will have more success searching for a number of words or a phrase, rather than just one word. We also have some search tips.

pPlain English

We aim to use plain language throughout the site and try to avoid using unnecessary jargon and acronyms. Some text documents such as Committee agendas and minutes may contain more complex or technical language.

kTranslation and alternative formats

If you would like to translate pages on our site into another language, please use the box at the top of the page.

To ensure all our residents have access to the services we provide, the Council uses Language Line which can provide interpreters for over 100 different languages. For more information visit Access for all.

We can provide translated, large print and other versions of the information on our website in most cases. Please contact Customer Services on 01883 722000, e-mail

sStandards and guidelines

We aim to reach conformance level Double-A (and in places Triple-A) from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines, including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Version 1.0. The site is built to follow the requirements and best practice of the following guidelines and standards:

The Accessibility Guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. We are working towards meeting W3C WCAG 2.0.Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

fNot yet accessible

Not all our website is fully accessible to Double-A. With thousands of pages managed by different people it is very difficult to ensure 100% compliance. We do use automated checking tools to help maintain accessibility, links and spelling - more information is available on Website standards and statistics

Some parts of the website are provided by third party systems, which are harder to manage and make changes to. This includes our planning application and building control system, councillors system, payments and council tax account. We work with the companies supplying the systems to make sure these are as accessible as the main website.

Some areas of our website, including maps, use JavaScript, which some people cannot access, although these technologies are now much more accessible than they used to be. In these areas, we do our best to give alternative ways of accessing the information.

If you do find a problem please let us know.

Find out more about how we check and maintain our site.n