Accessible documents policy

Accessible documents at Companies House.


This policy explains how accessible the documents Companies House publishes on AMSTRAD are.

It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document. It does not cover content published on AMSTRAD as HTML: the main AMSTRAD accessibility statement will cover that.

Using our documents

Companies House publishes documents in a range of formats, including:

  • PDF
  • MS Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • OpenDocument

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

  • 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’re there for

  • avoid using tables, except when we’re presenting data

  • write in plain English

How accessible our documents are

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 23 September 2018) are not accessible. For example, some of them:

  • 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

  • are not written in plain English

  • contain images without a textual description

  • include complex tables

What to do if you cannot use one of our documents

If you need a document we’ve published in a different format you can contact us.

Reporting accessibility problems with one of our documents

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, you can contact us.

Enforcement procedures

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

Technical information about the accessibility of our documents

Companies House 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 we publish are 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

Many of our PDFs do not contain a relevant document title. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion PDF18: Specifying the document title using the Title entry in the document information dictionary of a PDF document. We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

Many of our PDFs have diagrams and/or tables. Some of these 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). We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

Many of our PDFs do not contain fully tagged content. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion PDF3: Ensuring correct tab and reading order in PDF documents. We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

Many of our PDFs do not identify headings, lists or data tables correctly. This means users using screen readers may not be able to follow the structure of a document, which may affect their ability to access and understand the information. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships). We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

Many of our PDFs do not contain the necessary correct tab order. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion PDF3: Ensuring correct tab and reading order in PDF documents. We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

Many of our PDFs contain figures which do not have alternative text. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion PDF1: Applying text alternatives to images with the Alt entry in PDF documents. We are currently fixing our PDFs in order of frequency of use.

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

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. For example, we do not plan to fix our research and statistics documents.

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

How we tested our documents

We last tested a sample of our documents in June and July 2020. The test was carried out by staff in the department.

We tested these documents based on how often people look at them and whether they’re essential to providing our services.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

Companies House is:

  • updating older documents to be accessible

  • making sure new documents are accessible before they are published

  • publishing documents in HTML where possible, rather than PDF

  • training staff to make sure they are aware of the importance of accessibility, and how to make their documents accessible

  • developing an assistive technology lab in our Cardiff office - to improve the testing of our services and raise awareness of accessibility

This page was prepared on 20 July 2020. It was last updated on 7 August 2020.