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Accessible Documents Policy

Using our documents

We publish documents in a range of formats, including PDF's, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

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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 and appropriate
  • 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 are there for
  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data
  • write in plain English

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.

However, we know that some of our older documents published before 1 August 2019 are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • are just photocopies and are not marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
  • are not tagged up properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • do not have descriptive text alternatives for images
  • 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 using the contact details on this page.

We are committed to delivering services in a fair and equal way.

It is important that we communicate information in a way everyone can understand. If you need information to be translated or interpreted please let us know.

Any document published by Cornwall Council can be produced in a different format.

If you need information in another format please contact the Equality and diversity team.

Email, phone 0300 1234 100. 

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 please contact us using

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 feedback or complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Cornwall Council 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 that Cornwall Council published after January 2020 are fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard.

The documents Cornwall Council published prior to January 2020 are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

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

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

  • Some of our documents have images including maps, info graphics and 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).
  • Many of our older PDFs may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of images meets accessibility standards.

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

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 2020, 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. 

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

Our site is tested regularly by Sitemorse, an independent benchmark service.

As part of this service we receive a weekly and monthly reports which include accessibility of documents linked to from our pages.

This report scores the accessibilty of our pages and any documents linked within it are scored from 1 to 10. If a document is highlighted we ensure the document scores a 10 before it is republished.

We use this report to fix accessibility issues of current and historic documents.

All of our content is manually checked before it is published, These checks include accessibility of pages and documents.