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Accessibility Statement for public APHA Scientific services

The Animal and Plant Health Agency's (APHA's) accessible policy for websites and documents, including details of how we will update non-compliant content and documents by September 2020.

This page describes:

  • how accessible our websites, services and documents are
  • what to do if you have a problem
  • what we are doing to meet the regulations.

Using our websites and services

We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites and services. For example, on many of our sites you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels, zoom and fonts
  • complete tasks without a mouse by using input controls such speech or a keyboard
  • listen using a screen reader

There are many ways of making your device easier to use if you have access needs. Find out more on the My Computer My Way site by Abilitynet.

Using our documents

APHA publishes documents in a range of formats, including: PDF, PDF forms, Word, Excel and CSV.

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 a plain text webpage ('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 alternative text alongside non-decorative images, so people who can't see them can understands what they're there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we're presenting data
  • use plain English wherever possible.

How accessible our website, services and documents are

We aim to meet international accessibility guidelines, however this may not always be possible, or we may have missed a problem.

Parts of the website are not fully accessible. For example:

  • some pages and document attachments are not clearly written
  • some tables do not have row headers
  • some pages have poor colour contrast
  • some heading elements are not consistent
  • some images do not have good alternative text
  • some buttons are not correctly identified
  • some error messages are not clearly associated with form controls
  • many documents are in PDF format and are not accessible

We will begin to publish content and new documents as fully accessible where possible.

However, we know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not written in plain English
  • are online forms that are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • contain images without a textual description
  • include complex tables
  • are forms which have guidance in a separate PDF to help completion

This mostly applies to our:

  • reports
  • research and analysis reports
  • statutory guidance
  • forms
  • statistics

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

But 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 have difficulty using this service

If you have difficulty using one of our websites or documents or need them in an alternative accessible format contact:

  • email:
  • Write to: Animal and Plant Health Agency, Corporate Communications, County Hall, Worcester, WR5 2NP.

Technical information about this service's accessibility

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

Some of our websites, services and documents are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exceptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

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

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Some people may find parts of our websites and services difficult to use because:

  • the design cannot be overridden by personal settings for colours and fonts
  • the design does not adapt effectively to changes in the window size or level of zoom
  • there are parts that are difficult or impossible to understand or use with a screen reader
  • there are parts that are difficult or impossible to reach or use without a mouse or by touching the screen
  • the text is not written in plain English
  • the design is confusing or inconsistent
  • For all non-compliant documents published since 23 September 2018, we plan to fix these by September 2020. When we publish new documents, we’ll make sure our documents meet accessibility standards where possible.
  • A few of our documents have diagrams with no text alternative. The information in them is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). We will add text alternatives for all diagrams.
  • Some of our documents have diagrams that do not meet the colour contrast ratio of at least 3:1. These diagrams may be difficult to see, or completely missed, by people with a visual impairment. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.11 (non-text contrast). We will make sure our diagrams meet colour contrast requirements.
  • A few of our documents have diagrams that use colour as the only means of conveying information. The information in these diagrams may not be perceived by users with colour deficiencies. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.1 (use of colour). We will make sure information is not only conveyed through colour.
  • Some of our forms do not have page functionality available for using a keyboard. This content cannot be operated through a keyboard or keyboard interface. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (keyboard). We will make sure forms meet the keyboard requirements.
  • Some of our documents are published in an unstructured PDF. Headings, list items and paragraphs may not be recognised by a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We will make sure documents are published with the appropriate structure.
  • Some of our spreadsheets may not be clearly structured with labelled tables, and labelled headings. Columns headings may be blank. Workbooks tabs may not have a clear title. This does not meet success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We will make sure they have an appropriate structure.
  • Some of our documents are published using tables to lay out text in columns on the page. This often hides content from the navigation pane or table of contents. This does not meet success criterion 2.4.6 (headings and labels) or success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We will make sure that tables aren’t used to lay out text.

We are working on identifying and resolving as many of these issues soon as possible.

As we do this we will publish accessibility statements for separate sites.

Disproportionate burden

We have not yet identified websites or services where it would be a disproportionate burden on APHA to resolve the non-compliance. If this is the case with some of our websites and services, we will publish full details here explaining our decision.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

Some of our old PDF and Word documents may not be accessible in various ways.
For example, some may not be properly tagged, or do not use headings. This means that they may be hard to navigate using assistive technology such as screen readers. This does not meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 success criterion 2.4.6 (Headings and Labels).

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.

We do not plan to fix this content. However, requests can be made to make specific content accessible for those who need it. For more information use the contact details above.

How we tested

Some of our websites and services have had more testing than others. Testing has been conducted by APHA staff.  Where they have been checked for compliance, it has been against WCAG 2.0 AA and more recently WCAG 2.1 AA.

We tested:

  • PDF documents
  • Microsoft Excel documents

We decided to test these types of document, as aside from HTML, these are the most commonly used document formats in APHA.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are reviewing our approach and working towards meeting the regulations by:

  • developing our accessibility capability across the department
  • continuing to train our staff to create accessible services
  • increasing the use of automated and manual accessibility testing in our development process
  • continuing to conduct user research with people who have access needs
  • putting in place alternative arrangements for those who need them and where feasible making additional adjustments if these are not enough.
  • putting in place stronger measures to make accessibility a key part of our procurement processes and contracts
  • updating corporate Word and PDF templates to an accessible format
  • creating reports as HTML rather than PDF where possible
  • raising awareness across the organisation and encouraging the use of clear English in reports.


Page last modified: 11 May, 2020