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Website accessibility

Our commitment to making our site as accessible to all and how to report issues.

This accessibility statement applies to Waltham Forest Council's main website and My Account, our online service portal.

It does not apply to content on walthamforest.gov.uk subdomains (for example: builtenvironment.walthamforest.gov.uk, eclaim.walthamforest.gov.uk).

This website is run by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. 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.

What to do if you can’t access parts of this website

If you need information on this website in a different format email web.site@walthamforest.gov.uk

We will aim to get back to you within 21 working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, email web.site@walthamforest.gov.uk.

How we test this website

The site is regularly checked for accessibility issues as set out in to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

We do by:

  • using automated tools such as SiteImprove and Google Lighthouse
  • testing the site with local disabled people
  • manual checking and fixing issues

About the website’s accessibility

The London Borough of Waltham Forest 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 issues listed below.

Issues with video

Some of the videos on our website are subtitled and have transcriptions. Work needs to be done with Council services that produce videos to make sure they produce accessible videos as a matter of course.

Images

  • The images we use on the home page of the website sometimes have insufficient colour contrast.
    We are working with the services who supply these images to us to improve this.
  • Some images and icons on the site do not currently have appropriate ALT text. We are working to fix this issue.

Forms and payment systems

Our main online processes are built and hosted using Granicus’ GovService. Our forms have a number of issues:

  • some form elements are not accessible to keyboard users
  • the keyboard focus is not clear enough
  • the image button used to activate the accessibility tool on My Account is missing ALT text
  • some buttons and formatting used on forms have insufficient color contrast
  • some of the HTML used is incorrect. For example: malformed lists; some IDs used in ARIA and labels are not unique; some form elements do not have a visible label; the search button has no discernible text

Our internal developers are working to fix these issues.

Web chat

Our current web chat tool does not indicate when it has the focus for keyboard users.

This issue will be addressed in early 2022 when we change the web chat tool to a different provider.

Text and formatting

Our website currently has issues with:

  • the same link text being used more than once for different web links on the same web page
  • generic link text. For example: Links that say "Click here...", map"
  • headings are not structured correctly; one or more heading levels have been skipped on some pages on the site

These issues cause particular problems for people who use the keyboard or by text-to-speech software to navigate our site.

We aim to address these by:

  • updating our website's code to fix the issues with skipped headings and generic link text
  • providing training and direction to our content editors so they can fix content issues caused by skipped headings
  • providing tools and controls in our website CMS so these issues can be quickly identified and fixed

Interactive content: Virtual tours

There is an interactive virtual tour on the site that may not be fully accessible. Further work is to be done with the service to establish it's accessibility.

PDFs

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards. And some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services.

We have removed approximately 1,800 documents from the website and are working on the rest to either:

  • remove them from the site
  • fix their accessibility issues, or
  • convert to a more accessible format.

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 web.site@walthamforest.gov.uk.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We launched a new version of this website in November 2021 that has improved accessibility over our previous site.

With the new site we are also:

  • carrying out accessibility testing with local disabled residents to see how we can make the site easier to use
  • training and supporting staff who publish information on the website

We will also continue to monitor accessibility using automated and manual checks.

And we are working with Council services and external suppliers to improve accessibility of our main website and our other online services.

Enforcement procedure

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).

About this statement

This statement was originally prepared in February 2020 and reviewed and updated in January 2022.

The website was last checked for accessibility issues in October and December 2021.