Accessible Documents Policy

We have a range of documents and files available to the public on our website. The file Accessible Documents Policy is below and you can download a copy, see any archive versions or view accessibility information.


Legal terms and policies

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Published on 18 October 2022

Using our documents

West Midlands Fire Service publishes documents in a range of formats, including Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and Rich Text Format.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we make sure to:

  • provide an HTML option where possible
  • tag headings and other parts of the document properly, so screen readers can understand the page structure
  • make sure we include alt text alongside non-decorative images, so people who cannot see them understand what they’re there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
  • write in plain English

How accessible our documents are

New documents we publish and documents you need to download or fill in to access one of the services we provide should be fully accessible. Document pages will show an icon and text prompt to indicate if they are accessible or not.

However, we know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) are not accessible. For example, some of them:

are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings

do not have a specified natural language

are not written in plain English

This mostly applies to our PDF documents. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible.

But if you need to access information in one of these document types, you can contact us and ask for an alternative format.

Document accessibility notices

On the download pages for each of our documents, a notice is displayed advising of the level of accessibility. These are:

  • The document is fully accessible
  • the document may be accessible, but we're unable to confirm this (this may be because it's pending verification)
  • the document is not accessible due to being created or provided by a third party, over which we have no control
  • the document is exempt from the guidelines because it was created prior to 23 September 2018.

What to do if you cannot use one of our documents

If you need a document we’ve published in a different format:

We’ll consider the request and get back to you in 14 days.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our documents. If you find any problems not listed on this page or you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact:

Corporate Communications - include 'FAO Corporate Communications' in your email.

Or phone 03300 589 000

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).

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

West Midlands Fire Service is committed to making our documents accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The documents West Midlands Fire Service publishes are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Word documents and PDF documents do not all have text alternatives for non-text content - WCAG 1.1.1 Non-text Content

PDF documents do not contain a specification of the natural language - WCAG 3.1.1 Language of Page

Some documents contain images of text (tables or diagrams) - WCAG 1.4.5 Images of Text

All documents on our website are being reviewed and replaced to achieve full compliance by March 21 2023.

A few of our documents have diagrams. These images do not have a text alternative, so the information in them is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We plan to add text alternatives for diagrams on documents newer than September 23 2018 by March 31 2023. When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams meets accessibility standards.

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

Many of our older 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 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2.

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 Transparency Reports or Policy documents prior to this date.

We do not verify the accessibility of documents we make available that were created or provided by a third party. While we endeavour to make them as compliant as possible, we cannot guarantee that documents created outside of West Midlands Fire Service will comply. You should contact the relevant company or body to request accessible versions of the relevant document.

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

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents on 18/10/2022. The tests were carried out by the Corporate Communications team at West Midlands Fire Service.

We tested:

A sample of PDF documents

A sample of Word documents

A sample of Excel documents

This ensured we tested a representative sample of all the document types available on our website.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are conducting an extensive review of all documents available to download from our website. This will include but is not limited to, PDF documents, Word Documents, Excel Documents. We plan to ensure all documents are fully compliant with WCAG 2.1 by March 31 2023.

Any information published after this time will either be available in an HTML format or, if they remain a downloadable document, they will be fully compliant with accessibility standards as determined by WCAG 2.1.

This page was prepared on 18/10/2022. It was last updated on the date specified at the top of this web page.

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