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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.

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-compliance with the accessibility regulations

An accessibility report on 2 October from Silktide's automated accessibility testing tool highlights the following issues on some of our pages:

  • Some pages scroll in two dimensions on small screens (WCAG AA 1.4.10)
  • In keyboard navigation, controls don’t change appearance when selected (WCAG AA 2.4.7)       
  • Some pages do not have sufficient contrast on text (WCAG AA 1.4.3)
  • Some content is difficult to understand (WCAG AAA 3.1.5)
  • Some of our link text uses the same text for different destinations (WCAG A 2.4.4)
  • Some fields are not identified and cannot be identified by a screen reader (WCAG AA 1.3.5)
  • Some dialogues do not labels and cannot be identified by a screen reader (WCAG A 1.3.1)
  • Some of our navigation is not marked as lists (WCAG A 1.3.1)

We plan to fix these by Friday 30 October 2020.

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 30 December 2020. Should you need any help with carrying out a task on our website, please contact the service or email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

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 new website.  

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 a web user need these plans in an alternative format, they should contact the service.

Job application forms

While we are developing an online job application system, we are preparing an interim accessible solution for applicants.  We aim to have this in place by 30 December 2020 and will review this on a monthly basis.

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 Declaration 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. 

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.

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 any of these areas, please email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk and we will report it to the supplier.

1. Civica – provides Modern.Gov, where you can search for minutes of council and committee meetings. We are working with Civica on an upgrade and aim to be fully compliant by the end of November 2020.

Civica has already carried out an accessibility review and states that the majority of pages were compliant at WCAG AA level, with the exception of the calendar functionality (see non-accessible content below).How Civica tested their website

Civica’s Modern.Gov 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 a third party tool for their calendar functionality and although this is not compliant with accessibility standards, it is due to be upgraded as part of Civica’s development roadmap. We are working with Civica to determine a date when the calendar functionality will be replaced.

On-going 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)

In Public-i’s statement of 5 September 2019, it states that its microsite meets the government’s accessibility requirements, so it can be used by visitors with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive impairments or learning disabilities, or by those who are deaf or have impaired hearing.

The web development team at Public-i tested the microsite on 17 December 2019. The following pages were tested:

  • Home page
  • Webcast library page
  • Player page (Including Webcast, Slides, Resources, Map, transcript, Speakers, feedback and Custom tabs)
  • Help  page
  • Search results page
  • Privacy policy and cookies pages

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations. 

3. Delib provides the product called CitizenSpace (link opens in new window), which encourages public consultation. This tool is fully compliant although some of our supporting information may be in an older PDF format. If you need any help, please email webmaster@belfastcity.gov.uk

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 (link opens in new window) portal is a regional solution for landlords for houses of multiple occupancy. The supplier is Tascomi. The website is currently not fully compliant but Tascomi is planning to address this before 23 November 2020.

The accessibility statement was prepared on 29 July 2020. It was last reviewed on 29 July 2020.

The NIHMO website was last tested on 28 July 2020. The test was carried out by Tascomi. It used this approach to sample a number of pages using auditing software OnDemand Web Suite by Power Mapper recommended by W3C Web Accessibility Initiative and the Chrome DevTool extension Lighthouse.

Some testing pages included:

All links open in new window.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

WCAG Guideline

Accessibility problem

Plan date for resolution

WCAG 2.1 A F68

A label needs to be linked (or name) linked to the control allowing screen readers to voice the label correctly when reading the control.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 AA 1.4.4

Setting user-scalable=no or maximum-scale to less than 2.0 prevents zooming small text to make it readable.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A F2

Amend the strong element instead of the span element for bold text.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A 4.1.1

Element input not allowed as child element in this context

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A 4.1.1

Duplicate id - the same ID is used on more than one element.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A F54

Controls that respond to clicks should be given an ARIA role such as role=button or role=link.

23 November  2020

WCAG 2.1 A F49

Add role='presentation' if the inner table is a layout table, otherwise modify the inner table to present the same data without nesting tables

23 November  2020

WCAG 2.1 A H71

The first child element inside a field set must be a legend element, which provides a label or description for the group

23 November  2020

WCAG 2.1 AA F78

The CSS outline or border style on this element makes it difficult or impossible to see the dotted link focus outline.

23 November  2020

WCAG 2.1 A 4.1.1

No space between attributes.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A F73

Removing the underline from links makes it hard for colour-blind users to see them.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A F25

Some pages have the same title, so the title cannot be used to distinguish pages.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A 1.3.1

'h1' to 'h6' elements should not contain elements with 'role=heading' and vice versa. Remove the nested headings or replace them with span elements.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A 4.1.1

The interactive element input must not appear as a descendant of the element.

23 November 2020

WCAG 2.1 A 4.1.2

The role attribute changes how screen readers voice content. Invalid values can result in content being misread.

23 November 2020

The Tascomi NIHMO portal does not contain a site map or table of contents which is required for WCAG 2.1 2.4.5. We will review this.

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 Financial Statements published before 2018  our financial reports from 2013 – 2018

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are using some automated checks to alert us if something falls below the standard. By 30 October 2020, we will have carried out user testing with users and will implement any necessary changes. We will be carrying out a manual audit on this website by 30 December 2020.

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 22 October 2020 and updated the statement. We will review our accessibility status on a monthly basis and update the statement when needed.

We tested this website on 30 September 2020. We carried out our own testing using automated accessibility testing tools – Siteimprove, Wave and Silktide. We scanned about 1000 pages of our site.

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