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Accessibility statement

This accessibility statement applies to the website (our website), which is managed by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use our website and have designed it so that it lets you edit your preferred settings, with options to:

  • zoom in up to 500% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate it using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of it using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of it using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We have also made the website text in most areas as simple as possible to understand. There may still be older content on some pages where this is not the case.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible our website is

We know some parts of our website are not fully accessible:

  • you cannot modify the line height or spacing of text
  • some older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • live video streams do not have sub-titles
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard

Feedback and requests

If you would like to comment on the accessibility of our website, or request any of the information in a different format, such as accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille, please email

We will get back to you within five working days.

Reporting accessibility problems

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our website. If you have any problems that aren’t already mentioned, or you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, email us at

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 have made a formal complaint to us about our website's accessibility, and aren't happy with our response, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

Contacting us

Phoning or visiting us in person

Unfortunately, we do not provide a text relay service for people who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment. We can, however, use a mediated text relay service if one is provided by the person calling.

If you use a hearing aid and would prefer to visit us in person, our Gateway in Tunbridge Wells town centre has hearing loops available in all its meeting rooms.

If you contact us before your visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter through Kent County Council Sensory Services or you can call ahead and book them directly on 03000 418 100 or email

Find out how to contact us.

Technical information

Technical information about our website’s accessibility

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Our 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.

PDFs and other documents

Some of our PDFs and Word documents may not be structured so they are accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).

At the time of publication there were 783 documents available to view and download from our website. The breakdown by document type is:

Adobe PDF 580
Microsoft Word (.doc) 14
CSV 189

Of the 580 Adobe PDF documents on our website, 148 are fully accessible to a screen reader. The remaining 432 documents can be broken down as follows:

Historical * 328
Third-party content ** 34
Disproportionate burden *** 10
To be made accessible ****60

* Historical documents that were published before 23 September 2018 and are not needed for active administrative processes relating to the tasks performed by the council.

** Third-party content that is neither funded nor developed by, nor under the control of the council.

*** Making these documents accessible would place a disproportionate burden on the organisation and there is no benefit given the resource and effort required.

**** Documents identified as to be made accessible will either be re-created as an accessible document, converted to an HTML webpage, or re-created as an online form. At the time of publication work on converting these documents had started, but completion will be after 23 September 2020. However, we expect this work to be completed by summer 2021.

Any new PDF document we publish on our website will meet accessibility standards.

Element not highlighted on focus

  • Some pages have controls on the page (including links, buttons, and fields) that do not highlight when they have been selected by the keyboard. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.7 Focus Visible.
  • This issue is not reported by all the accessibility checkers we use. For example, the WAVE accessibility checker does not report this as an issue, but the Silktide checker does. We plan to further investigate and if required, fix this by 31 December 2020.

Select link text

  • Some pages use the same link text more than once, but each goes to a different URL. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context).
  • Any link or text that is flagged to us will be investigated and assessed against collected user data.

Forms and pages hosted by third-party software suppliers

Some of our forms and pages are built and hosted by third-party software suppliers and ‘skinned’ to look like our website. Some of these do not fully meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion. Our ability to make them accessible is limited by, for example, the supplier’s development and release cycles for new versions. These issues are experienced by a wide range of local authorities who use the same software suppliers.

We will continue to provide feedback to our third-party suppliers about accessibility issues we identify with their software and ensure that accessibility is a requirement of our software procurements.

Disproportionate burden

We believe that the cost required to fix some of the following issues now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the No. 2 Regulations. We will make another assessment in the future, for example when supplier contracts are up for renewal.


Having carried out a detailed check of the website, we have assessed that it would be a disproportionate burden to fix all documents published on the website since 23 September 2018.

Many of these documents have never been viewed, therefore they are not negatively impacting users with disabilities or impairments. For this reason, we do not believe the cost of time, effort, and resource to fix all the documents is justified.

We will focus on fixing the most viewed documents on our website (top 10%) and ensuring that new documents are accessible where they are required for essential services or used by people with disabilities.

Out of scope content

Content that is not within the scope of the accessibility regulations.

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they are accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).

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 summer 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 are not essential to providing our services.

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

Live video

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams, because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

All pre-recorded and edited film clips published on our website from 23 September 2020 will feature subtitles, captions, and a transcript.

Third-party content

Our site includes third-party content and documents.

We cannot guarantee that all third-party content is accessible. We are not responsible for any third-party content that is under someone else’s control - for example, social media ‘like’ buttons.

We often link to third-party websites or documents when there is useful information that relates to our services.

For example, we link to third-party websites such as official information sources like GOV.UK or the Electoral Commission.

We often create content on third-party platforms. For example, we create video content on YouTube. We are responsible for making sure the content is accessible, but we are not responsible for YouTube's platform.

Preparation of this statement

This accessibility statement was prepared on 10 October 2019. It was last updated on 8 January 2021.

Our website was last tested in September 2020; the test was carried out by staff from the Digital Services team at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

We tested a large sample size of page types and varieties from our site, paying careful attention to make sure all types of user journey and the most popular tasks were represented, e.g. the main homepage and the content listed under Bins and recycling.

We complete our accessibility audits by testing how the site performs when accessed using accessibility tools, including Silktide and WAVE. Results of this testing are then cross referenced with general user feedback.

This statement will be reviewed again in February 2021.