There are more than nine million disabled people in the UK. At least two million people experience serious sight problems. Increasing numbers of disabled people use the internet for information, shopping, study, work and entertainment. However, disabled people find that many web sites are extremely difficult to use because of the way they have been designed.
We are committed to making its output as accessible as possible to all audiences (including those with visual, hearing, cognitive or motor impairments) to fulfil its requirements specified under the Disability Discrimination Act. We continually test our web sites with a number of browsers, screen readers, accessibility and HTML validators, and other web tools. The results of such reviews are incorporated into improvements for our site.
We include the following features designed to improve accessibility for users with disabilities:
- A sitemap is available on the site.
- Images on the site contain “alt tags”, which contain simple descriptions of the images to aid users who listen to the content of the site by using a screen reader.
- Invisible ‘jump to content’ links at the top of each page enable people using text-to-voice browsers to bypass the navigation bar and go directly to the main content each time a page is accessed.
- Text links are formatted to be as self-evident as is possible.
- The site’s style sheets are designed to allow users to resize the text of the site in browsers that support this feature (generally available under the View menu).
- Links to external sites open in a new window. Note: We are not responsible for the content or accessibility of these referenced sites.
- The site implements cascading style sheets (CSS). Certain early versions of Netscape (4.x and earlier) and Internet Explorer (3.x and earlier) do not fully support this feature, so elements such as links may display differently. If you are experiencing this, you may wish to disable style sheets. You can do this through your browser. In Explorer (5.50), choose Tools, Internet Options, General Tab, Accessibility, and check the ‘Format documents using my style sheet’ feature. In Netscape (4.75), choose Edit, Preferences, Advanced, and turn off the ‘enable style sheets’ feature.
- Layout is accomplished mainly with CSS, but the site is also designed to display well if CSS is not supported. Form controls are properly grouped and labelled.
- If you have difficulty viewing any page using assistive technology, please use our online enquiry form so that we can make the information available to you. Please indicate the nature of your accessibility problem, the format in which you would like to receive the material, the web address of the requested material, and your contact information.
- From time to time, we undertake new web site developments and experiments with new web-based processes. During their development and testing phases, it is possible that they may not comply with our accessibility standards. Please be reassured, we will make all efforts to ensure we bring these new developments into line at the earliest possible opportunity.
The following access keys are defined for this site, based on the Government access keys standard:
- S – Skip navigation
- 1 – Home page
- 3 – Site map
- 8 – Terms and conditions
- 9 – Feedback form
- 0 – Access key details
How to use access keys
In Internet Explorer 5+
‘alt + the access key number’ brings focus to the element. If a link, ‘enter’ will take the user to the linked destination.
In Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape 6+
‘alt + the access key number’ take the user to the linked destination.
If using an Apple Mac
Substitute the ‘Ctrl’ key for the ‘Alt key’.