Our Equality and Diversity Policy sets out the Council’s general policy statement. The accessibility policy for the website adopts the same policy guidelines.
We focus on delivering services to the local community and visitors to the borough. We aim to make the website accessible to the widest possible audience and to comply with government accessibility standards.
The website provides a range of information about the Council and many of our online services. The aim is for the user to obtain the information or to use the services to resolve their enquiry without the need to visit or telephone the Council. The advantage for our customers is that they can contact the Council when and where it is convenient for them.
Our website is designed to meet international and local government guidelines for accessibility and best practice. We conduct regular accessibility audits and research to ensure we are maintaining these standards.
Where some applications may not reach this standard, we will work with vendors to improve their accessibility and usability.
We regularly review the feedback and suggestions from our users and monitor other websites to assess best practice. Such sites include RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Mencap, government sites, Equality and Human Rights Commission and formerly the Disability Rights Commission.
Work is continuing to improve the website through planned projects and regular ongoing maintenance. Users are invited to give feedback about the site. Users can also contact the Web Team by email or telephone. Where an email address is provided, comments receive an individual response and are used to identify potential problems or desirable developments.
If any non-conformances with the corporate web standards are found these will be rectified. Developments in response to user comments will be evaluated on the basis of greatest impact for the widest range of users and the cost to achieve these aims. When any future major redevelopment of the website is planned, the Council will carry out an Equalities Impact Needs Assessment. Consultation with designated groups is key prior to any redesign and user testing takes place at a proof of concept stage. This ensures that any changes implemented meet the needs of a wide range of users.
The website is tested for accessibility using automatic software tools but this only shows technical compliance with standards, not how usable it is.
Web analytics software is used to capture information about users' visits. It also shows which pages and services are being used so that comparisons can be made before and after changes are introduced.
Each topic of information or online services gives alternative contact information via the telephone or email. A service user can speak to someone to access the same information or services.
Accessibility and usability are our key principles. See "Our commitment to accessibility".
This extends to the third party applications which are accessed via the website. We will work to ensure that procurement of third party products complies with PAS 78 and that current suppliers understand their obligations and their role in enabling the Council to deliver an inclusive website.
Updated: 2 April 2014