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Accessibility Statement

This accessibility statement applies to St Helens Borough Council’s website, https://www.sthelens.gov.uk. This website is run by St Helens Borough Council.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. To do this we have ensured that our accessibility tool ATbar is available at the bottom left of every page of the website.

ATbar has been created as an open-source, cross-browser toolbar to help users customise the way they view and interact with webpages. The concept behind ATbar is simple: one toolbar to provide all the functionality you would usually achieve through the use of different settings or products.

ATbar is free and allows you to change the look and feel of webpages, have text read aloud, and spell-check forms. It is a simple tool that is available for most popular browsers and means you are able to: 

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% 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. In addition, AbilityNet is an online resource that 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:

  • most older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • some of our documents aren’t fully accessible to screen readers
  • some of our live video streams do not have captions 

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format, like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:

  • Email: contactcentre@sthelens.gov.uk
  • Telephone: 01744 676789 (8:00am to 6:00pm weekdays, 10am to 2pm Saturdays)
  • Minicom: 01744 671671
  • Post: Contact Centre, Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1HF

Please make your enquiry for the attention of St Helens Borough Council’s Customer Relationship Manager and the subject or reference as “Website Information - Different Format Request”. Please include as much detail as possible.

St Helens Borough Council will make all reasonable adjustments to remove or lessen barriers to disabled customer access. We will consider your request and get back to you in 10 working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

St Helens Borough Council is 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, please get in touch with us using the options above. 

Please make your enquiry for the attention of St Helens Borough Council’s Customer Relationship Manager and the subject or reference as “Website Accessibility Improvement Request”.  Please include as much detail as possible.

St Helens Borough Council will make all reasonable adjustments to remove or lessen barriers to disabled customer access.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

The council’s Contact Centre at Wesley House is fully accessible: with accessible signage, wheelchair access, loop hearing aid system, staff who can use British Sign Language, access to translation and interpretation services, minicom, fax, email, text, website and telephone. Find out how to contact us

Technical information about this website's accessibility

St Helens Borough 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 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content that is not accessible is outlined below with details of:

  • where it fails the success criteria
  • planned dates for when issues will be fixed

Disproportionate burden

We are in the process of redesigning our website with a new provider, GOSS Interactive. We’ve assessed the resource required to fix the following issues fully and believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations.

Most of these issues will be fixed on the new website and we will make another full assessment when it launches, likely to be in late 2021. Our new website will be similar in design to, and will meet the same accessibility standards as, this local authority example: https://chiltern.gov.uk.

Images and buttons
Some of our images, particularly older ones, do not have alt text attributed to them. This fails WCAG 2.1A 1.1.1 success criterion (Non-text content). On some of our images and buttons, the colour of the text and the colour of the background are not in sufficient contrast to each other. This fails WCAG 2.1AA 1.4.3 success criterion (Contrast (Minimum)).

Navigation and accessing information
There’s no way to skip the repeated content in the page header (for example, a ‘skip to main content’ option). This fails WCAG 2.1A 2.4.1 success criterion (Bypass Blocks). It’s not always possible to change the device orientation from horizontal to vertical without making it more difficult to view the content. This fails WCAG 2.1AA 1.3.4 success criterion (Orientation).

Interactive tools and transactions
Some of our interactive forms are difficult to navigate using a keyboard. For example, because some form controls are missing a ‘label’ tag. This fails WCAG 2.1A 4.1.2 success criterion (Name, Role, Value). Some of our forms and maps are built and hosted through third-party software and ‘skinned’ to look like our website.

PDFs and other documents
Many of our PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1A 4.1.2 success criterion (Name, Role, Value) or 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).

Our ATbar toolbar button does not meet accessibility standards due to poor colour contrast. This fails WCAG 2.1AA 1.4.3 success criterion (Contrast (Minimum)). Google has deprecated the tool, meaning the only way to fix the issue would be to remove it entirely from our site. On balance, we believe it is more beneficial to retain the tool, though it will not be implemented on our new site.

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. Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

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

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

Our new website will be accessible by design and all content that is published will be checked by a team of editors to ensure it meets accessibility requirements. We will conduct regular in-depth audits to ensure we are compliant with the AA standard.

Until then, we will continue to work through issues on our current website and ensure that any new content published on the site is fully accessible.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 22 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 22 September 2020.

This website is tested each week by Siteimprove, a third party who provide us with a full-site report highlighting accessibility issues.

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