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Accessibility statement

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This accessibility statement applies to www.belfastcity.gov.uk. This website is run by Belfast City Council. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that 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 and it is approved by Plain English Campaign (link opens in new window) on an annual basis. AbilityNet (link opens in new window) has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • live video streams do not have captions
  • a number of older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software.

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different accessible format, for example large print, easy read, audio recording or Braille:

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in ten working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We want to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, email us at webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk

Please tell us what part of the website you are visiting, what you are trying to do and what is preventing you from doing what you need to do. If possible, please tell us what device and which browser you’re using. We will get back to you within three working days.

Enforcement procedure

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 request or complaint, please call ECNI on 028 9050 0600 and ask to speak with one of their Discrimination Advice Officers in their Legal Division, or email information@equalityni.org. Find out more about the enforcement procedure (link opens in new window).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

Find out how to contact us.

We provide a video relay service for people who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment. You can access this online or at some of our venues. Find out more about this service.

Our offices have audio induction loops, or if you contact us before your visit, we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) or Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreter.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

Belfast City Council is committed to making its 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 WCAG 2.1 AA standard due to some non-compliances, meaning there’s an accessibility problem with the areas listed.

Non-accessible content

The content listed is non-accessible for the following reasons:

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

‘Silktide’ is an automated accessibility testing tool, which Belfast City Council uses.

An accessibility report on 1 July 2022 from Silktide highlights the following issues on some of our website pages:

  1. Some of our pre-recorded audio and video do not have captions (WCAG A 1.2.2)

Some of our PDF documents, online forms and third-party products are not accessible:

Online forms

We will continually review our online forms. Should you need any help with carrying out a task on our website, please contact the service or email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

Microsoft Bookings

Microsoft Bookings is a web-based application available for use via our Microsoft Office 365 Subscription. We use Microsoft Bookings to allow Belfast City residents/visitors to book appointments for the following:-

  • Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships,
  • Vans/light goods vehicles to book a slot in one of our four recycling centres, and
  • City Cemetery Tours

There are some parts of this application that are not fully accessible:

  • Contrast (Minimum)
    For some text, colour contrast ratio is failing.
  • Resize text
    In some places, elements are truncating on larger text mode
  • Reflow (Horizontal/Vertical scrolling)
    In some places, reflow mode is not adopting correctly.
  • Non-Text Contrast
    For some elements, non-text colour contrast ratio is failing.

Microsoft last updated their accessibility statement for this product on 16 May 2022.

PDF documents

The following PDFs are inaccessible, but if you need them in another format, please email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk

  • Financial reports
  • Planning
    • Local Development Plan library
      The documentation that forms part of the Local Development Plan (LDP) process is displayed within a document library on the website. There are 283 PDFs, varying in page length, in this section. 

      In accordance with the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and The Planning (Local Development Plan) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015, the Council is required to make, publish and provide access to the documents that form part of the Local Development Plan and supporting Evidence Base.  

      The Local Development Plan library will remain as inaccessible PDFs on the website. However, if you need to access a document in the Local Development Plan library in another format, please email planning@belfastcity.gov.uk ​
  • Draft Plan Strategy Modifications: Consultation

Additional inaccessible PDFs were added on 12 May 2022 to the Draft Plan Strategy Modifications: Consultation. The first three documents are not produced by Belfast City Council and will not be converted to HTML

  • DPS_PED001 Planning Appeals Commission Independent Examination Report
  • DPS_PED002 Department for Infrastructure Section 12 Direction
  • DPS_PED003 Department for Infrastructure Direction Cover Letter
  • SA Addendum Appendix 1
  • SA Addendum Appendix 2

If you need these in another format or need any help with the consultation, please email planning@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9050 0510.

  • Road closures  
    We have an obligation to publish a Road Closure Notice and make available, for inspection, a copy of the application. The Traffic Management Plan (TMP) is part of the application - (Paragraph 3 (4) (e) – The Notice must specify alternative routes for traffic and pedestrians, these can only be obtained from TMPs.   

    There are some parts of this webpage that are not fully accessible, including Road Closure Traffic Management Plans. This may contain images or PDF files of the traffic management plan to be used during the road closure, without an alternative from third party companies. 

    Should you need these plans in an alternative format, please contact Building Control by email at buildingcontrollicensing@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9027 0650.
     
  • Job application forms
    Currently our online job application process is not accessible to everyone. The job application form is in Word format and the job application pack, including job description and terms and conditions of employment, is in PDF. Help is available for you and we can provide these documents in other formats if you need them.

    If you have a disability, or your first language is not English, and you need help with any aspect of our recruitment and selection process, please email jobs@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9027 0640 during office hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, closed bank and other public holidays).
     
  • Cremation forms
    Some of our PDFs are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs which are necessary for organising cremations and need signatures. 

    The forms are:
    • Burial and Cremation information form
    • Form A - Application for Cremation
    • Form B, C and F - Certificate of Medical Attendant, Confirmatory Medical Certificate and Authority to Cremate 
    • Pacemaker/Fixion form
    • Form H, I and F - Still born child​

We do not intend to replace these with online forms. Two pieces of legislation which govern how these forms are to be completed, are:

  • The Cremation (Belfast) Regulations (NI) 1961; and 
  • The Statutory Declarations Act 1835

These forms need to be completed in hard copy. Forms A and H need to be sworn and signed in the presence of a commissioner for oaths. If you need any help with these forms, please call 028 9027 0296 or email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk

The Invest in Belfast website is aimed at investors. On 5 July 2022 we removed inaccessible PDFs from the resources page. The documents in PDF are investment-related reports and available from Invest in Belfast by email belfasti@belfastcity.gov.uk

If you need any of these reports in another format, please email: equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

Our intention is to publish new PDFs or Word documents in adherence to accessibility standards.

Disproportionate burden

We are not claiming disproportionate burden for this website.

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

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 our financial statements published before 2018.

Third party suppliers

We use third party suppliers to deliver parts of the website. We have informed our suppliers that they need to meet the standards and we will review their compliance monthly, until we are satisfied that they are compliant.

If you are having difficulties accessing an area of the website that is provided by a third party supplier, please email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk and we will report it to the supplier.

Our website presently uses the following third party suppliers:

1. Civica – provides Modern.Gov, where you can search for minutes of council and committee meetings. Civica has carried out an accessibility review and states that the majority of pages were compliant at WCAG 2.1 AA level, with the exception of the calendar functionality (see non-accessible content) which has now been disabled on this site.

How Civica tested their website

Civica’s Modern.Gov site was tested using a range of accessibility assessment tools across different web browsers and cross-checked against accessibility standards to identify improvements.

Non-accessible content

Modern.Gov uses the PDF file format to display agendas and minutes. We are investigating options for publishing these in a more accessible format. Please contact Democratic Services if you need this is another format. Email democraticservices@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9027 0434.

Ongoing development

Civica welcomes feedback from customers to assist them with improving accessibility. If you have any comments, please email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk

2. Public-i offers the webcasts of the council meetings (link opens in new window)

Read Public-i’s accessibility statement. If you need any help, please contact Democratic Services on 028 9027 0434 or email us at webcast@belfastcity.gov.uk and we will respond to your email within two working days.

Public-i does not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations. 

3. Our engagement platform, Your Say (link opens in new window) is supplied by Bang the Table Pty Ltd and encourages public consultation. Read Your Say's accessibility statement and email policy@belfastcity.gov.uk if you need any help.

4. Our Online Funding Hub (link opens in new window) is supplied by Decision Time. If you need any help, please contact our Central Grants Unit at cgugrants@belfastcity.gov.uk

5. Northern Ireland Houses in Multiple Occupation (NIHMO) (link opens in new window) is a regional solution for landlords for houses of multiple occupancy. The supplier is Idox. The website is fully compliant.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are using some automated checks to alert us if something falls below the standard. We commissioned a manual audit of this website by Digital Accessibility Centre from 23 to 27 May 2022 and are working to implement the recommendations.

On a monthly basis, we will contact our suppliers, to assess their compliance with the legislation. We are also approaching organisations, who request that we publish their documents on our website, to discuss how we can present their information in an accessible way.

Preparation of this accessibility statement 

This statement was prepared on 27 July 2020. We reviewed it on 4 July 2022 and updated the statement. We will continue to review our accessibility status monthly and update the statement when needed.

We tested this website on 1 July 2022. We carried out our own testing using automated accessibility testing tool Silktide. We scanned over 1500 pages and 49 documents of our site.

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