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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
  • our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard or screen reader
  • 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

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 Belfast Zoo and Olympia Leisure Centre. 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. Please note, some of our offices are currently closed in line with COVID-19 guidance.

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 some areas.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below 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 15 July 2021 from Silktide highlights the following issues on some of our website pages:

  • Some pages scroll in two dimensions on small screens (WCAG AA 1.4.10)
  • Some of our pre-recorded audio and video do not have captions (WCAG A 1.2.2)
  • Some of our link text is the same for different destinations (WCAG A 2.4.4)

We plan to fix these by October 2021.

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

Online forms

Our online forms are difficult to navigate using a keyboard or a screen reader because some form controls are missing a ‘label’ tag. To address this, we are rebuilding and republishing our online forms to make them accessible by September 2021.  Should you need any help with carrying out a task on our website, please contact the service or email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

PDF documents

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

  • Pavement cafĂ© licence PDF application forms and notices
  • Premises improvement notices
  • Financial reports
     
  • 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 
     
  • 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 050.
     
  • 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

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards. An exception to this is PDFs added to the Online Funding Hub (link opens in new window). There is no plan in place for this to be addressed. Please contact cgugrants@belfastcity.gov.uk if you need help with this.

Disproportionate burden

A disproportionate burden claim is made in respect of that part of the website that is provided by Idox and which relates to the Northern Ireland Houses in Multiple Occupation (NIHMO) portal, see paragraph no 6 below under the heading “Third party suppliers”.

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 on a monthly basis for the next six months, 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. 

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 their 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. This tool is fully compliant, although some of our content including guidance notes may not be accessible. If you need any help, please contact our Central Grants Unit at cgugrants@belfastcity.gov.uk

5. Northern Ireland Houses in Multiple Occupation (NIHMO) portal is a regional solution for landlords for houses of multiple occupancy. The supplier is Idox. The website is currently not fully compliant. There are two outstanding non-compliance issues. The first (WCAG 2.1 AA F78) relates to CSS border styles and development to resolve this issue is planned for December 21. Whilst Idox has indicated that to rectify the second issue would be a disproportionate burden to the Council, we are currently working through the second issue with the supplier, (WCAG 2.1 A H71) where all fieldset elements should be labelled with legend elements, to estimate time and costs to address the issue.  Read their accessibility statement (link opens in new window). If you need any help with this part of the site, please email nihmo@belfastcity.gov.uk

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 on 19 March 2021 and have a roadmap for implementing 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 15 July 2021 and updated the statement. We will continue to review our accessibility status on a monthly basis and update the statement when needed.

We tested this website on 15 July 2021. We carried out our own testing using automated accessibility testing tool Silktide. We scanned over 1350 pages of our site.

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