This statement applies to content published on the www.communities-ni.gov.uk domain. It does not apply to content on communities-ni.gov.uk subdomains (for example iaccess.communities-ni.gov.uk and apps.communities-ni.gov.uk) and third party domains hosting communities-ni services.
This website is run by the Department for Communities. It is designed to be used by as many people as possible. The text should be clear and simple to understand. You should be able to:
- zoom in up to 300% without problems
- navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
- navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
- use most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)
How accessible this website is
Parts of this website are not fully accessible. For example:
- some pages and document attachments are not clearly written
- some tables do not have row or column headers
- some pages and elements have poor colour contrast
- some heading elements are not consistent
- some images and icons do not have good alternative text
- some complex images do not have sufficient descriptions
- some video content does not have a text alternative
- many documents are in PDF and MS Office formats and are not accessible
How to request content in an accessible format
If you need information in a different format contact us by using the feedback form and tell us:
- the web address (URL) of the content
- your name and email address
- the format you need, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, accessible PDF
Reporting accessibility problems with this website
We are always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact us by using the feedback form and our Corporate Communications team will investigate the issue.
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’) in Northern Ireland.
If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).
Technical information about this website’s accessibility
The Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) 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 non-compliances listed below.
The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.
Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations
The content that is not accessible is outlined below with details of:
- the accessibility problem(s)
- where it fails the success criteria, and
- when we plan to fix it
A number of accessibility issues are related to our content management system, Drupal, and are in need of developer and web design input.
These include but not limited to the following:
- Colour contrast interface elements (WCAG 2.1, Level AA, 1.4.11)
- Accessible names in some instances don’t match visible labels (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 2.5.3)
- Elements use colour to convey meaning which is not accessible to assistive technologies or users with low vision. (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 1.4.1)
- There are some instances where focus state was not visible throughout the site. (WCAG 2.1, Level AA, 2.4.7)
- Dynamic content inaccessible to keyboard users (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 2.1.1)
Our Drupal-based content management system is currently being upgraded from version 7 to 9 and it is the intention of our developers to address these issues within that upgrading which is expected to complete by Spring 2022.
There are a number of pages which do not use a consistent or appropriate use of headings. This may result in a loss of meaning for users of screen readers. This fails WCAG 2.1 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to repair these pages by Spring 2022.
There are a number of pages with lists which may not be adequately structured. This may result in a loss of meaning for users of screen readers. This fails WCAG 2.1 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to repair these pages by Spring 2022.
When we publish new content we’ll make sure our use of headers and formatting of lists meet accessibility standards.
A number of documents are non-accessible for a number of reasons which may result in a loss of meaning for users of screen readers or present issues for users with moderately low vision. For example, some documents:
- do not have a language attribute set This is a failure of WCAG 3.1.1 (language of page).
- have areas of insufficient colour contrast. This is a failure of WCAG 1.4.3 (contrast (minimum))
- do not have a correct reading order. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (info and relationships) and 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence)
- do not have alternative text for images. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).
- have non-text content like bullet points and dotted lines which are not incorrectly read aloud correctly. This fails WCAG 1.1.1 (non-text content).
- have tables which are not marked up correctly. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 info and relationships)
- are scanned documents with errors in elements including reading order, language, and title. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (info and relationships).
We plan to repair this by Spring 2022.
If you find you require one of our non-accessible documents published since September 2018 before it is repaired, please contact us using the feedback form and our Corporate Communications Team will arrange this for you.
PDFs or other downloadable documents published since 23 September 2020 will meet required accessibility standards. In most instances, the accessibility of these materials will be checked using the on-board tools within MS Office 2013 (or newer) and Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020.
Images and Video
Some images do not have a text alternative (alt text), so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). We plan to repair this by December 2022.
A small number of complex images and charts do not convey meaningful information and cannot be described in a text alternative. Detailed descriptions are not currently available which is a failure of WCAG 2.1 1.1.1 (non-text content) and 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to repair this by March 2022.
Some images include text which do not have sufficient contrast against the background, so people with moderately low vision may not be able to access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 (contrast). We plan to repair this by March 2022.
A small number of pages have embedded video content without text alternatives or closed captions. This may prevent users from adapting the material through any sensory modality (for example, visual, auditory or tactile) to match their needs. This fails WCAG 2.1 1.2.1 (audio-only and video-only (prerecorded)), 1.2.2 (captions), 1.2.3 (audio description or media alternative (prerecorded)) and 1.2.5 (audio description (prerecorded)). We plan to repair these pages by March 2022.
Content published since 23 September 2020 meets the required accessibility standards.
A small number of pages have tables which do not have row or column headers and are non-accessible. This may result in a loss of meaning for users of screen readers. This fails WCAG 2.1 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We plan to repair these pages by December 2022.
Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations
As a website published before 23 September 2018, we are required to comply with the web accessibility regulations from 23 September 2020.
However, some of our content is exempt from the accessibility regulations:
- pre-recorded audio and video published before 23 September 2020
- heritage collections
- PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 - unless required for the use of a service, for example a form
- third party content that is not within our control, for example, embedded video players like Vimeo or YouTube, and embedded Google Maps.
If you have any problems using this website, tell us using the feedback form and our Communications & Engagement Unit will investigate the issue and/or provide you with the information you need in an alternative format.
PDFs and other documents
Many documents are non-accessible in a number of ways including missing text alternatives and missing document structure.
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. For example, we do not plan to fix the DfC Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018.
PDFs and other documents published since 23 September 2020 will meet the required accessibility standards. In most instances, the accessibility of these materials will be checked using the on-board tools within MS Office 2013 (or newer) and Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020.
How we tested this website
This website is tested for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 level A and level AA, and tests have been carried out externally and independently.
We used the Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
All Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments are working to fix non-accessible content which fails to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. We will update this Statement as issues are fixed.
We plan to identify and fix issues according to the timescales shown for each area above.
This statement was first prepared on 18 September 2020. It was last updated on 24 February 2022.