Accessibility Statement for

This statement applies to content published on the domain. It does not apply to content on any third party domains hosting Office of the Discretionary Support Commissioner services.

This website is run by the Department for Communities. It is designed to be used by as many people as possible. The text should be clear and simple to understand. You should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without problems
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • use most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

How accessible this website is

Parts of this website are not fully accessible. For example:

  • some pages and document attachments are not clearly written
  • some documents have poor colour contrast
  • some heading elements are not consistent
  • some images and icons do not have good alternative text
  • some documents are in PDF format and are not accessible

How to request content in an accessible format

If you need information in a different format contact us by post, phone or email and tell us:

  • the web address (URL) of the content
  • your name and email address
  • the format you need, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, accessible PDF

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact us by post, phone or email and our web team will investigate the issue.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’) in Northern Ireland. If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The Department for Communities is committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

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

The content that is not accessible is outlined below with details of:

  • the accessibility problem(s)
  • where it fails the success criteria, and
  • when we plan to fix it

Developer issues

A number of accessibility issues are related to the underlying Drupal content management system (CMS) and will require developer and web design input.

There are a number of pages and elements with text of insufficient contrast against background. This may prevent users with low vision being able to read this information easily. This fails WCAG success criterion 1.4.1 (use of colour), 1.4.3 (contrast (minimum)) and 1.4.11 (non-text contrast). We plan to repair this within the next 12 months, by September 2021.

The website’s top navigation features drop down menus which are not accessible via keyboard operation. This prevents any user from operating main content using a keyboard. This fails WCAG 2.1.1 (keyboard). We plan to repair this within the next 12 months, by September 2021.

Users of assistive technologies cannot bypass blocks of content like the header graphics and navigation. This prevents a sequential navigation through content more directly to the primary content of a web page. This fails WCAG 2.4.1 (bypass blocks). We plan to repair this within the next 12 months, by September 2021.


Existing documents may be non-accessible for a number of reasons which may result in a loss of meaning for users of screen readers or present issues for users with moderately low vision. For example, the ODSC1 Form (PDF):

  • has areas of insufficient colour contrast. This is a failure of WCAG 1.4.3 (contrast (minimum))
  • has missing labels and instructions on the form fields. This is a failure of WCAG 1.3.1 (info and relationships) and 2.4.1 (bypass blocks)
  • does not have a complete or logical tab order. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 (info and relationship), 1.3.2 (meaningful sequence) and 2.4.3 (focus order)
  • does not have adequate error identification or error prevention measures. This is a failure of WCAG 2.1.1 (keyboard), 1.4.1 (use of colour) and 3.3.4 (Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data))
  • has background text that may be read aloud by screen readers
  • does not have alternative text for images. This fails WCAG 1.1.1 (non-text content)

We plan to repair this within the next 12 months, by September 2021.

Any new PDFs or other documents we publish will meet the required accessibility standards.

Disproportionate burden

Not applicable.

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

As a website published before 23 September 2018, we are required to comply with the web accessibility regulations from 23 September 2020.

If you have any problems using this website, contact us by post, phone or email and we will investigate the issue and/or provide you with the information you need in an alternative format.

How we tested this website

This website was and is currently being tested for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 level A and level AA, and these tests have been carried out externally and independently.

We used the Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We plan to identify and fix issues according to the timescales shown for each area above.

This statement was prepared on 18 September 2020. It was last updated on 30th June 2021.