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Accessibility statement for the NHS Business Services Authority website

This accessibility statement applies to the NHS Business Services Authority website content published on the www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk domain. It does not apply to nhsbsa.nhs.uk subdomains (for example, https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/check-for-help-paying-nhs-costs).

This website is run by the NHS Business Services Authority. 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% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

AbilityNet 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, as:

  • you cannot skip to the main content when using a keyboard or screen reader
  • some links have a very low contrast between the foreground and background colours 
  • some pages skip a heading level
  • some pages use directional language
  • you can only use the drop-down menu on the service navigation using hover or touch
  • not all our form controls have labels to describe their purpose
  • some image or icon links are identical to the text links
  • some links do not make sense when read out of context
  • some links do not describe where they will take the user or what the linked downloadable content is
  • title text is duplicated in some of our content links
  • title text in the Sitemap footer link does not correctly describe where the link takes you
  • the search input bar has prepopulated instruction text in it
  • tables do not use headings correctly
  • some images are missing alternative text
  • screen readers cannot read some elements correctly, such as filters, embedded videos and social media sharing buttons
  • many of our documents require a separate program to open them and are not fully accessible
  • you cannot navigate this website using speech recognition software

How to request content in an accessible format

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

Email: nhsbsa.accessibility@nhs.net

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in 5 working days.

This inbox is only for accessibility queries. This inbox is not for technical queries or IT problems. If you have a query that is not about accessibility, go to the ‘Contact us’ section of this page.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, you can contact us by:

Email: nhsbsa.accessibility@nhs.net

This inbox is only for accessibility queries. This inbox is not for technical queries or IT problems. If you have a query that is not about accessibility, go to the ‘Contact us’ section of this page.

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).

Contact us

For all queries not accessibility related, you can contact us by:

Email:  nhsbsa.digital@nhs.net

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The NHS Business Services Authority 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 listed below.

Non-accessible content

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

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

There’s a very low contrast between the foreground and background colours on links in:

  • the secondary footer
  • the service navigation menu
  • buttons, section navigation menus and question blocks (for example, in NHS Pensions, Help with Health Costs, NHS Dental Services and Information Services)
  • embedded videos

Users with low vision may not understand this content. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum).

Navigation

The ‘Skip to main content’ link does not bypass the search bar and service navigation to allow users to skip to the main content on a page. This will make navigation hard for keyboard users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.1 (Bypass Blocks).

The tab ordering of the skip links is incorrect. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus Order).

Some of our pages skip a heading level. This makes navigation hard for keyboard and screen reader users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships), 2.4.1 (Bypass Blocks) and 2.4.6 (Headings and Labels).

The drop-down menu on the service navigation relies on hover over and touch and cannot be accessed by a keyboard. This makes navigation hard for keyboard and screen reader users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.13 (Content on Hover or Focus), 2.1 (Keyboard Accessible) and 2.5.1 (Pointer Gestures).

The NHSBSA logo ‘Return to home’ link and ‘Read more’ links contain adjacent links that go to the same location. This causes additional navigation and repetition for keyboard and assistive technology users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

Not all our form controls have labels to describe their purpose. Labels are missing from the:

  • news listing filter
  • search results filters
  • feedback form submit button

This makes navigation hard for screen reader users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships), 2.4.6 (Headings and Labels), 3.3.2 (Labels or Instructions) and 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).

The social media sharing buttons are not read correctly by a screen reader. This makes navigation hard for keyboard and screen reader users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.6 (Identify Purpose) and 2.1 (Keyboard Accessible).

Some pages use directional language to identify the visual location of an element. Users with visual disabilities may find it difficult to locate the content. Also, location of content can change depending on window or screen size. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.3 (Sensory Characteristics).

The title text is duplicated in some of our content links. This includes:

  • the service name links on the NHSBSA homepage
  • the skip to content links on all pages
  • the Freedom of Information link in the footer on all pages
  • the service navigation links on all pages with a service menu
  • some link buttons

This may cause difficulties for users of assistive technology. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non text content) and 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

The title text in the Sitemap footer link does not correctly describe where the link will take a user. This may confuse users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

Some link text does not describe where a link will take the user, or what the downloadable linked content is. For example, ‘Read more’ links. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

Some links have the same link text but do not have the same purpose and destination. For example, multiple ‘Contact us’ links on the same page go to different contact pages. This may cause confusion and make navigation hard for all users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

On pages that use the ‘jump to’ navigation, the ‘back to top’ links do not contain text or a description that screen readers can announce. This makes navigation hard for screen reader users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

It’s not possible to navigate all pages on this website using speech recognition software. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value) and 4.1.3 (Status Messages).

Search

The search input bar has instructional text in it. This can be confusing for assistive technology users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.6 (Headings and Labels).

The code on the search results page does not let assistive technologies know:

  • what all user interface components are for because more than one element has the same ID attribute
  • when content on the page has changed if a search filter is selected

This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.1 (Parsing) and 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).

Tables

Data tables on our pages are not marked up correctly. Empty data cells, such as the top-left cell in a data table, are incorrectly marked as headers cells. Assistive technology users may find this confusing. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion (1.3.1 Info and Relationships).

Non-data tables are used on some pages to position content for sighted users. Screen readers may interpret them as data tables. For example, screen readers will announce column and row numbers. Screen reader users may not understand the text within the table. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) and 1.3.2 (Meaningful Sequence).

Images

The alternative text for the NHSBSA logo does not state that the image is a logo or suggest that its primary function is to link to the homepage. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non text Content).

Some informative images are missing alternative text. Assistive technology users will not understand these images. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non text content).

Some decorative images do not have a null text alternative. This means the images will not be ignored by screen readers and users may find the content hard to understand. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non text content).

Videos

Some of our pages include videos which are embedded from a third-party site, such as YouTube. The video is displayed in a frame on our page which does not have a title. Screen readers cannot describe the contents of the video frame. This fails success criterion 3.3.2 (Labels or Instructions).

Where a video is embedded on one of our pages, a link to download the video transcript is available.

We plan to work with our website supplier and content editors to make the NHSBSA website more accessible by September 2021.

PDFs and other documents

Many of our documents require a separate program to open them and are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are not tagged in a way that allows screen reader users to understand or navigate them
  • do not have alternative text alongside informative images
  • do not have correct heading structures
  • do not have correct list structures
  • do not have a high level of contrast between the text and background
  • do not have a logical reading order
  • contain complex table structures with merged cells and tables with no headings which keyboard users and screen reader users will find difficult to understand
  • contain slides with missing or duplicate titles
  • contain non-meaningful links
  • are not written in plain English
  • use directional language and colour to identify visual location of content
  • include objects such as images and logos which are not in line with text

Some links to documents are not descriptive enough or do not let users know what the downloadable linked content is. For example, they do not inform the user that the link will download a PDF document. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context).

We plan to make all our documents accessible or replace them with accessible HTML pages by September 2021.

Disproportionate burden

Not applicable

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

PDFs and other documents

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. By September 2021, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

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 historic strategies, business plans and annual reports.

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

We’re committed to making sure this website is compliant to WCAG 2.1 ‘AA’ standard.

Our accessibility compliance statement will be reviewed every six months. Every new released website will be designed, built and tested to meet ‘AA’ standards by default.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 16 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 17 September 2020.

This website was last tested on 11 September 2020. The test was carried out by the Digital and Online Team.

We tested a sample of the website screens to meet ‘AA’ WCAG 2.1 standards, using manual and automated tests.

We run each webpage through automated Wave, Lighthouse and Axe accessibility tools then manually test with screen readers (NVDA) and standards checklists.

These checklists contain standards that have been compiled using WCAG, the NHS service manual and GDS guidance. 

Other NHSBSA websites

Each NHSBSA website has its own accessibility page, with details of how accessible the website is, how to report problems and how to request information in an alternative format. You can access these pages from the footer inside most websites. You can also view a list of accessibility pages for NHSBSA websites.