Accessibility statement

22 September 2020

Contents of this statement

  1. Using this website
  2. Increasing access on different devices
  3. Overview of how accessible the website is
  4. Contacting us
  5. Technical information about this site’s accessibility 
  6. How we tested this website
  7. What we’re doing to improve accessibility

1. Using the Valence House website

This website is owned by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and it is run by a small dedicated team. We want the site to be as accessible as possible, and have considered accessibility from the start of the website’s development. Working with the website developers, we have tried to prioritise access within the constraints of budget, technology, and staff capacity. 

In this section we outline some of the features that are built into the site to help access, how to contact us to make suggestions for improving accessibility, and how you can get content in alternative formats if something is not accessible to you.

On this website you should be able to:

  • Navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • Navigate most of the website using speech recognition software –
  • Listen to the website using a screen reader
  • Change the size of the browser window but still read the text – as it will reflow in a single column – can zoom up to 300% 

2. Increasing access on different devices

There are changes you can make to different devices to increase access to our site, depending on how you prefer to access the web, including:

  • Speech output
  • Magnifying the screen
  • Making the mouse point bigger
  • Slowing down the mouse speed
  • Using the keyboard to move around a website

There are lots of useful links and information on the AbilityNet website, and we recommend you go there for up-to-date advice on making your specific device easier to use.

3. Overview of how accessible the website is

The site includes the following features to increase accessibility:

  • Text content written in plain English to make it easier to understand
  • A logical layout and easy to find contact details
  • The use of headings to split up the content visually and to improve navigation by screen-reader users 
  • The use of alternative descriptions to describe many images
  • A short-cut to change the font size presented as ‘AAA’ at the bottom of the page. 
  • Link to visual accessibility options including: keyboard navigation, font resize, ‘readable font’, colour contrast options and ‘clear cookies’.

We know some parts of this website aren’t fully accessible and will work to rectify them. Some access barriers include:

  • Headings used multiple times on one page which makes 
  • Low colour contrast: some examples of low text and background colour contrast making the text harder to read. 

3.1. What to do if you can’t access parts of this website

If you need information on this website in a different format, e.g. large print or Easy Read, please contact us:

  • Email: 
  • Telephone: 020 8227 2034 

3.2. Reporting accessibility problems with this website

If any parts of the website are not accessible for you, please get in touch with us. In particular, if: 

  • You cannot access the information on this website and would like to discuss the options of providing content in an alternative format
  • You would like to ask anything or tell us anything about the accessibility of our websites

We’re always looking for ways to improve the accessibility of this website and welcome your feedback. If you find any problems that aren’t listed in this statement or think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations, get in touch. 

We aim to get back to you within 15 working days. 

4. Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

Our offices have audio induction loops, or if you contact us before your visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

Find out how to contact us:

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the accessibility regulations. If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

5. Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The Valence House team is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

In this section, you will find out more about the accessibility of our website and how far it conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA. The known issues are not an exhaustive list, but we have summarised the main problems we found on the site.  

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to non-compliances including those listed below: 

5.1. Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

5.1.1. Empty and unordered headings; skipped heading levels 

Some users, especially keyboard and screen reader users, navigate a page by reading out the headings. An empty heading will present no information and might be confusing. Also, some heading levels have been skipped which confuses the navigation. 

  • This fails WCAG 2.1 criteria: 
    • 1.3.1.   Info and relationships 
    • 2.4.1.   Bypass blocks
    • 2.4.6.   Headings and labels 
  • Date to fix: within 12 months of publication of this accessibility statement 

5.1.2. Colour contrast

There are multiple examples of low colour contrast of text and background colours, which makes text harder to read.  

  • This fails WCAG 2.1 criteria: 
    • 1.4.3. Contrast (minimum) 
  • Date to fix: within 6 months of publication of this accessibility statement. 

5.2. Disproportionate burden

Does not apply. 

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

Some access issues fall outside the scope of the accessibility regulations: 

  • PDFs and other documents

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, however get in touch with us if there is some content that you can’t access and we’ll suggest an alternative. 

Some older PDFs and Word documents may not meet accessibility standards – for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. 

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

  • User-generated content

We aim to provide alt text to all images that convey information to users. However, some of our content is user-generated and although we encourage contributors to describe their content for all users, some might not have been added. 

Some external sites that we link to might not be fully accessible

Some of the content and information that we link to might not meet accessibility standards – we are not responsible for the accessibility of external content and sites. However, where there is a choice, we will always choose the most accessible options.

6. How we tested this website for accessibility

We considered accessibility from the start of the site design, running access checks to ensure that the target users’ points of view were included at different stages. There were 3 main stages of testing:

  • ‘Wireframe’ testing early plans of the site, to review the planned logic /approach
  • ‘Flat design’ testing of the site – expert audit of usability / visual accessibility. 
  • Testing the code with an automated validator, against WCAG 2.1. AA

Most recently we have tested the site and content for accessibility using the WAVE automated validator tool – to highlight any access problems in relation to WCAG 2.1, and we have included this information in the accessibility statement. 

We are committed to providing a website that is accessible to all and will review this access statement on a regular basis, initially 6 months from the date of publication of this statement. 

At that stage we will review the issues listed under ‘Technical information about this website’s accessibility’ and check whether the accessibility problems have been resolved by the date specified. We will also check the accessibility of new content that has been added since launch. 

Other ways that we are working to make sure that our website and content is accessible to all include: 

  • Raising general awareness of accessibility across the museum and cultural sectors
  • Undertaking staff training and raising awareness within the organisation
  • Doing more research into how to increase accessibility of content including videos and audio, PDFs and PowerPoint documents 
  • Updating our guidelines for staff, external developers and contributors. 

Preparation of this accessibility statement 

This statement was prepared on 22 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 22 September 2020. 

This website was last tested on 24 August 2020. The test was carried out by an independent access auditor (Shelley Boden). 

This statement was prepared on 22 September 2020. 

It was last updated on 22 September 2020.