Site help and accessibility options

We aim to make this site as accessible as we can.

Web accessibility means enabling people to view a web page the way they wish to view it with the equipment that they have available. In other words, making sure that as many people as possible can use a website, irrespective of physical impairment (such as loss of sight or restricted mobility), cognitive disability (such as dyslexia), or limited English language. It also means ensuring a website works on the broadest possible range of computer hardware and software, and its use does not depend on having the highest specification equipment or latest browser.

Our site is accredited by the Digital Accessibility Centre

In January 2011, we asked the Digital Accessibility Centre to carry out a comprehensive web accessibility audit of our site.

Each Digital Accessibility Centre Accreditation undergoes automated testing followed by a full manual technical review. The site is then tested by a team of experienced web analysts, all of whom have a disability. Over 70 hours of user testing has been conducted by members of the team with the following disabilities:

  • blindness
  • low vision
  • dyslexia
  • colour blindness
  • impaired mobility
  • learning difficulties
  • deafness.

All testing is carried out in line with WCAG 2.0 level AA or above. Furthermore, the accessibility audit contributes towards conformance with BS8878.

Therefore we are delighted to announce that our site has been awarded the Digital Accessibility Centre's top accreditation mark in recognition of our work to ensure that the site is accessible to all.

We will continue to follow developments in web accessibility and remain committed to ensuring that people of all abilities can access the information and services that we provide on this site.

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High-visibility layout

You can choose to enable a high-visibility layout on this site. This is especially suitable for partially-sighted people, and ensures that the site's content is kept in a single column, at a larger font size.

A layout using light text on a dark background, and a layout using dark text on a light background, are both available.

A high-visibility layout is not currently enabled.



Your choice will be automatically remembered the next time you visit the site using this computer. You can change layout again by returning to this page.

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Access keys

You can choose to enable the UK Government Accesskeys Standard on this site. This allows you to use your keyboard to navigate quickly to key pages, wherever you are on the site.

To use an access key on a computer running Microsoft Windows, hold down the alt key on your keyboard, and press your chosen key from the list below. You may then have to press the return key on your keyboard to activate the link.

To use an access key on an Apple Macintosh computer, hold down the ctrl key on your keyboard, and press your chosen access key.

The access keys available on this site, when enabled, are:

Key Page
0 Access key details (this page)
1 Home page
3 Site map
4 Search
9 Feedback form

Access keys are currently enabled.

Your choice will be automatically remembered the next time you visit the site using this computer. You can disable access keys again by returning to this page.

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Readspeaker

We have enabled the Readspeaker service on this site to help anyone who prefers to listen than to read, including people with impaired vision, dyslexia, or low literacy.

You do not need to install any special software on your computer to use this service.

To listen to a page, simply use the Have this page read aloud link at the top of the page. A control panel will appear and ReadSpeaker automatically starts reading the text of the page out loud.

In this control panel you can:

  • Adjust the volume
  • Pause the reading
  • Stop the reading
  • Restart the reading
  • Choose "No sound?" if your browser does not support flash
  • Choose "Settings" if you want to customize the behaviour of the service

Listen to selected text

To listen to a particular part of a page, select the text you'd like to hear by dragging your mouse over it, and then press the pop-up listen button which appears next to your mouse pointer. When you click the pop-up listen button, a smaller control panel will appear and ReadSpeaker will automatically start reading the text you have selected.

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Adjusting the size of text

This site uses font sizes that you can control using your browser.

Internet Explorer

You can change the text size in Microsoft Internet Explorer by selecting View > Text size followed by your preferred text size from 'Smallest' to 'Largest'. The default setting is 'Medium'.

Firefox

You can change the text size in Firefox by selecting View > Text size followed by 'Increase' or 'Decrease'. To return the text size to its default setting, select 'Normal'.

Safari

You can change the text size in Apple's Safari browser by selecting View > Make Text Bigger or View > Make Text Smaller.

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Some people may prefer to skip the full set of links to our A to Z of services.

You can choose to have these links abbreviated into a single link to the main A to Z of services page.

Links to the A to Z of services currently appear in full.

Your choice will be automatically remembered the next time you visit the site using this computer. You can display these links in full again by returning to this page.

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Standards compliance and accessibility guidelines

This site is built using valid HTML and uses CSS for presentation.

Our aim is to meet all Priority One, Priority Two, and selected Priority Three checkpoints from the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Our publishing system has been designed to produce valid, accessible content wherever possible, but we acknowledge that we won't always succeed.

If you find any problems using any part of this site, please contact us and we'll do our very best to address the issue as promptly as we can.

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