Accessibility statement

Our website accessibility policy, aims and achievements, and how to report problems or request information in another format.

This statement applies to

This website is run by West Sussex County Council. We want as many people as possible to be able to use it. For example, this means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300 per cent 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.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website aren’t fully accessible as:

  • some of our documents aren’t yet fully accessible to screen readers
  • our mapping system does not work well on mobile devices
  • the GovDelivery sign up modal spills off screen at 300 per cent zoom.

Requesting another format or reporting a problem

Please contact us if you:

  • need information on this website in a different format, like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille
  • find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements:
Use our form to contact us (external link)

If you wish to make a formal complaint, please complete our complaints form.

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 have made a complaint and you’re not happy with our response, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

West Sussex County Council is committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 AA standard.

Content that’s not within the scope of the regulations

We are not required to:

  • make documents published before 23 September 2018 accessible, unless users need them to access a service
  • make reproductions of heritage documents accessible
  • make online maps accessible
  • add transcripts to audio files.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

  • Some images do not have suitable descriptions. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content).
  • When loading images from an image gallery in modal (a pop-up element that still keeps the main window visible), the keyboard focus doesn't pass to modal. This fails 2.4.7 (Focus visible).
  • A small number of our templates have skipped heading levels. This fails WCAG 2.4.6 (Headings and labels). They include:
    • subsite homepages with a widget layout
    • subsite sub-landing pages with or without images
    • the campaigns landing page
    • landing pages with images.
  • The tab order on some pages isn't consistent with the majority of the site and forces users to tab through supplementary content first. This fails WCAG 2.4.1 (Bypass blocks). For example:
    • on the campaigns landing page, a subsite directory search page or a directory search page the user has to tab through refine options first
    • on a subsite news item page, directory landing page, directory item page or guide (multipart) page the user has to tab through share buttons first
    • on the schools directory pages the user has to tab through share buttons and refine options first
    • on the highways enquiry form the user has to tab through share buttons first.
  • Adjacent links go to the same destination on subsites. This fails WCAG 1.1.1 (Non-text content).
  • There is no text on Previous/Next pagination buttons on some results and guide pages to make users aware of new content. This fails WCAG 2.4.4 (Link purpose – in context).
  • A small number of links lack the required contrast and are only identified by colour. This includes some links to our cookies page, above YouTube videos, from our news items and campaigns pages and on some of our maps. This fails WCAG 1.4.1 (Use of colour).
  • Some pages have links built into the template which use the same link text to point to different pages. These pages include contact us service options, the news area (refine options) and the campaigns area (refine options). This fails WCAG 2.4.4 (Link purpose – in context).
  • There is no link text on some clickable images on image galleries. This fails WCAG 2.4.4 (Link purpose – in context).
  • Colour contrast is not sufficient in some areas of the site. This fails WCAG 1.4.3 (Colour contrast). It includes:
    • links, phone numbers and emails within grey boxes, backgrounds and side panels used on various pages across the site
    • summary heading text on guide pages, FAQ pages and A-Z pages
    • the selected guide tab text on guide pages
    • 'next' text on guide pages
    • the number of results for filters and refine options
    • the option number links, grey summary text, grey instruction text and links on grey backgrounds on the contact us page
    • links on grey rows in tables
    • the 'Find my nearest' text on the homepage and Find my nearest page
    • description and download text on download buttons on some campaign pages
    • the search results summary text when hovering over a result, the 'You searched for' and the 'results' text on the search results page
    • some text in blue banners on campaign, place to visit and subsite place to visit pages
    • the service description or type text on 'Find my nearest' results pages.
  • Maps used on our directory pages are set as aria-hidden by default, but in some circumstances can still receive focus. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • The aria-controls attribute on navigation tiles on the homepage is invalid. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • The aria attributes for the navigation links on guide pages do not match their roles or have valid values. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • Widgets we use to embed Twitter/Facebook feeds and Google Maps don't always load with their iframe title attribute. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Iframe is missing a title).
  • Our drug litter form requires the user to select a location on a map in order to submit the form, which can only be done using a mouse. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • The waste permit request form currently loads with error fields, causing the page to load halfway down. This means the focus is not at the start of the page.
  • Table column and row headers automatically display the <b> (Bold) emphasis tag rather than <strong> on mobile devices or small screens, which most screen readers do not announce. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Our content management system automatically adds a border attribute to some tables. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • A small number of tables are missing a caption element. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Most pages contain two or more landmarks of the same type that have not been named, for example multiple navigation landmarks. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Some third-party widgets we embed, such as Facebook/Twitter feeds, videos and Google Maps include HTML to format content. This includes deprecated (outdated) 'frameborder' and 'bgcolor' attributes. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Our suggested search options function uses the attribute aria-live="assertive" but should also include aria-atomic="true". This fails WCAG 3.3.1 (Error identification).
  • Some lengthy search filter options on our Job search pages cause a small amount of horizontal scrolling on small screen devices. This fails WCAG 1.4.10 (Reflow).
  • The search field on our '404 error' page is named the same as the global search, although has the same functionality. This fails WCAG 2.4.6 (Headings and labels).
  • Our emergency site notification content is not included within an HTML landmark across the website. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Content section tabs on some 'campaign' pages, and logos and clickable image banners on our 'subsite' templates, aren't sufficiently highlighted on focus. This fails WCAG 2.4.7 (Focus visible)
  • The required field error message for the GovDelivery sign up modal does not operate correctly for screen readers. This fails WCAG 3.3.3 (Error suggestion)
  • In content implemented using markup languages, elements may not analyse a string or text into logical syntactic components correctly. This fails WCAG 4.1.1 (Parsing). It includes:
    • active link phone numbers which include a space
    • a style element as a child element of a div in the waste permit application
    • text within the tags on iframes used to embed Google Maps 
    • our subsite place to visit template, which has a duplicate ID
    • an empty ID attribute on the script tag that loads the GovDelivery sign-up modal
    • the time element on several pages where the text content is not in the required format
    • an empty action attribute on the form element of the local suppliers' search page
    • H2 headings under the 'DT' element (which defines a term/name in a description list) on the job details page
    • a duplicate ID and main element on the job application page
    • an invalid text element under H3 on the 'Find a school' page
    • a value attribute that is not allowed on the form upload field of the drug litter form.
  • Although we are not required to make online maps accessible:
    • there are data tables and areas with incorrect HTML coding markup, and use of deprecated markup such as <b> tags and use of HTML to format content – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships)
    • some map areas and features are mouse-dependent rather than keyboard-enabled – WCAG 2.1.1 (Keyboard)
    • some maps use images and markers, for which we are unable to set an alt attribute (including to mark as decorative) – 1.1.1 (Non-text content)
    • on some maps an anchor link exists but does not refer to a location the page – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships)
    • some links on maps have no link text – WCAG 2.4.4 (Link purpose – in context)
    • document language is missing or incorrect – WCAG 3.1.1 (Language of page)
    • some form controls are missing text and/or input fields have no description – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships)
    • some headings are missing text – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships)
    • aria groups roles are used but are missing a name – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships)
    • some forms are missing a submit button – WCAG 3.2.2 (On input).

PDFs and non-HTML documents

  • Many of our PDFs and MS Office documents don’t meet accessibility standards – for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • Some of our resource documents, such as posters, are designed to be downloaded and printed, so these may not be fully accessible.
  • Some documents that are essential to providing our services, such as forms published as Word documents, may not yet be accessible.
  • Some of the documents we link to are owned by third parties and may not be accessible.

Accessibility regulations don’t require us to fix PDFs or other documents that we own and published before 23 September 2018 unless they’re essential to providing our services. If you need information in another format, please use our form to contact us.

Issues with forms

We are aware of some issues with forms created on our Umbraco content management system:

  • Difficulty with navigation using just a keyboard. This fails WCAG 2.1.1 (Keyboard).
  • Colour contrast is insufficient on links in instruction boxes. This fails WCAG 1.4.3 (Colour contrast).
  • Stray markups such as <p>, <li> and <strong> tags are sometimes added. This fails WCAG 4.1.1 (Parsing).
  • Multiple email fields are named the same on some forms, usually due to the separate global feedback form, which also has an email address field. This fails WCAG 4.1.1 (Parsing).
  • Dropdown fields have a blank option element. This fails WCAG 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • If an error shows where a mandatory field has not been completed correctly after a form is submitted, the aria reference (which define ways to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities) for this error is not correct. This fails WCAG 3.3.1 (Error identification).
  • Not all form fields use the 'autocomplete' attribute where it would be helpful to do so. This fails WCAG 1.3.5 (Identity input purpose).
  • It is not possible to leave a star rating using a keyboard on the global feedback form. This fails WCAG 2.1.1 (Keyboard).

Disproportionate burden

We believe that fixing these accessibility problems would be disproportionate as this platform will be retired soon. 

Issues with older embedded applications

We have a number of older applications (apps) embedded on our website including:

We are aware of the following specific issues with these apps and the WCAG success criterion each fails:

  • Alt text missing – WCAG 1.1.1 (Non-text content).
  • Bold tag used to highlight text – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Content not accessible with keyboard – WCAG 2.1.1 (Keyboard).
  • Contrast issues with text, links, buttons, and form elements – WCAG 1.4.3 (Contrast – minimum).
  • Document language missing – WCAG 3.1.1 (Language of page).
  • Empty label text – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Form elements not grouped – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Mandatory fields on forms not marked – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Missing first level heading – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Missing form labels – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Missing skip to content option – WCAG 2.4.1 (Bypass blocks).
  • Missing page title – WCAG 2.4.2 (Page titled).
  • Missing table headings and summaries – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Orphaned form labels – WCAG 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • Skipped heading level – WCAG 2.4.1 (Bypass blocks).
  • Suspicious/non-descriptive alt text – WCAG 1.1.1 (Non-text content).

We will work with services to address the usability of these apps either by replacing or improving them.

Third-party systems

Some of our systems are supplied by third parties and have their own statements:

Although these sites may use our footer template, they are covered by their suppliers' accessibility statement rather than WSCC's.

We have also created several interactive reports using Microsoft Power BI. This includes those on West Sussex Life. These are not fully accessible, but we have made them as accessible as we can. If you need information from any of the reports, please use our form to contact us.

How we tested this website

This website, and a broad selection of its files, was tested by Shaw Trust Accessibility Services. Shaw Trust also tested seven WSCC sites, two of which are on a different technical platform but ‘skinned’ to look like our website and embedded in this site.

They reported their findings to us on 11 April 2019 and rechecked the site for improvements in February 2020.

We have also tested a selection of page templates we use on the site and used automated software ourselves to test the accessibility of such as Siteimprove and WAVE.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are working to resolve all identified accessibility issues which are within our control. Our services are also working with suppliers to resolve any identified accessibility issues where we do not have direct control over their product.

When this statement was prepared

This statement was prepared on 22 January 2020 following technical and editorial improvements based on Shaw Trust’s observations. It was last updated on 23 November 2021.

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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.