Accessibility statement

This statement applies to content published on the domain. It does not apply to content on subdomains and third party domains hosting finance-ni services.

This website is run by the Department of Finance. It is designed to be used by as many people as possible. We’ve made the website text as simple as possible 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
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We use the principles of the Plain English Campaign to make our content as simple as possible to understand. 

How accessible this website is

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

  • some elements have poor colour contrast
  • visible text in search bar needs to be included in HTML label
  • some pages have empty headings
  • some pages and document attachments are not clearly written
  • many documents are in PDF and MS Office formats and are not accessible

How to request content in an accessible format

If you need information in a different format contact us by 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 email and we 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 of Finance is committed to making its 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 that is not accessible is outlined below with details of:

  • the accessibility problem(s)
  • where it fails the success criteria
  • 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.

These include but not limited to the following:

  • contrast issues (WCAG 2.1, Level AA, 1.4.3)
  • redundant links (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 2.4.4)
  • text labels (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 2.5.3)
  • no Skip to Content link (WCAG 2.1, Level A, 2.4.1)
  • empty headings (WCAG 2.1, Level AA, 2.4.6 and 2.4.7)

Our underlying content management system is currently being upgraded from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. It is our intention to address these issues during that upgrade which is expected to be completed by September 2023.

PDFs and other documents

Between September 2020 and September 2021, we reviewed all documents published since September 2018 and took actions to make them compliant with the legislation. This resulted in 236 documents being replaced on the site. It was not possible to fix some documents that had been produced by third parties for the department. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us by email and we will investigate the issue.

Any new PDFs or other documents we publish will meet the required accessibility standards. To facilitate this, we have included accessibility as a requirement in current and future tenders for design and publishing contracts. For internally produced documents, such as statistical reports, accessibility checks are done using Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft accessibility checker software and issues identified are fixed before publication.

Where we become aware of accessibility issues that are not fixed, or are in the process of being fixed, we will add an accessibility notice to the publication page.

Problems with legacy documents

We know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) 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 properly - for example, they do not contain proper headings
  • are not always written in plain English

The legislation does not require these to be fixed unless essential for providing a service, such as an application form. As a result, we will not be fixing these but we do conduct reviews of content each year to ensure it remains current and accurate.

Images and video

Most images on the site are in News Releases which should contain captions and alternative text.

Videos that we produce and that are embedded on the site will have subtitles enabled. Occasionally, we may embed a video from a third party and where possible we encourage them to have subtitles added. If you discover an image or video that does not comply with accessibility please please contact us by email and we will investigate it.

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.

However, some of our content is exempt from the accessibility regulations:

  • pre-recorded audio and video published before 23 September 2020
  • heritage collections
  • PDF, word or other documents published before 23 September 2018 - unless required for the use of a service, for example a form
  • maps
  • third party content that is not within our control, for example, embedded video players like Vimeo or YouTube, and embedded Google Maps

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

How we tested this website

This website was audited for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 level AA in January 2022, 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.

We intend to commission our next accessibility audit in 2024 when migration of the site to the next iteration of Drupal content management system is completed.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We plan to identify and fix issues according to the timescales shown, and on an ongoing basis for each area above.

We conduct annual reviews of content and accessibility will be one of the areas that we check. We conform to the Northern Ireland Civil Service web style guide for all our HTML content.

In addition, we have added the following procedures to our content creation process:

  • we use Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Pro accessibility checkers to identify problems and fix these before publication
  • we have incorporated WCAG 2.1 requirements into design and print processes to ensure professionally produced documents meet the standards
  • where branches commission reports from external bodies, they are required to make WCAG 2.1 standards part of the contract specification
  • we have made accessibility guidance available on our staff intranet for all staff drafting web content
  • we will publish in HTML format as a first option whenever feasible

This statement was first published on 15 September 2020. It was last updated on 26 May 2023.

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