Accessibility statement: Petitions website

This accessibility statement relates to all web content of the Public Petitions website located at

Public Petitions is run by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB). We are committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone and applying the relevant accessibility standards.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • 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’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

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

How accessible this website is

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

  • Element description: Lack of text alternatives for description of images and other visual elements.  For example, layout tables.  Lack of document titles and labels, markups and accessible names for images, meaning that some elements are ignored by screen readers.
  • Use of colour and styling: Lack of contrast between background and text colours meaning that some text is difficult to see.
  • Keyboard: JavaScript links are not accessible by keyboard leading to them not being read out by screen readers.  Some parts of the website cannot be accessed by using a keyboard.
  • Navigation: The website is unable to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple web pages and is not consistent in the way it works, meaning that users are unable to predict what comes next.
  • Language: Some parts of the website contain sentences that are too long; including the use of jargon and acronyms and uses language that is not fully understandable to the general audience or accessible to screen readers.
  • Audio and video: Lack of text alternatives and audio description.
  • Other Issues: Zoom has been disabled on some pages and some content is inaccessible to assistive technology.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

Get content in other formats

We will do our best to provide you with the content you need in a format that is suitable for you. Please get in touch.

  1. Email us at 
  2. Describe the format you need, for example audio CD, braille, BSL or large print.
  3. Provide your name and email address.

We’ll aim to reply within 2 working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us by doing the following:

  1. Contact
  2. Add the web address (URL) of the page the content’s on or choose the whole site.
  3. Let us know your issue.
  4. Provide your name and email address if you want a response, or leave this blank if you want to remain anonymous.

If you request a response, we'll aim to reply within 2 working days.

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’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

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

Conformance status

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) defines requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Public Petitions is partially conformant with WCAG 2.1 level AA, due to the non-compliances listed below.
Partially conformant means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to the accessibility standard.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Most of the issues are in regards to navigation, failing WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria 1.3.1, 2.1.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 1.4.4, 3.2.3, and 4.1.1 where the website doesn’t work consistently or parts of it do not work with a keyboard.

Some of the issues flagged in regards to accessibility are connected to lack of element description. This fails WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criteria 1.1.1, 1.41, 1.43, 2.4.2,  2.4.4, 2.4.6 and 4.1.2, where there is no audio or video description and alternative  text, titles, markups, labels and names have been omitted.

Some issues have been regarding the use of visual elements. This fails WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria 1.2.1, 1.2.2, and 1.2.5, where text is difficult to see because of content used. 

Some of the language used is too lengthy and is not understandable to the general audience.  This fails WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria 3.1.1 and 3.1.2.

We’ll fix these issues through staff training to ensure content is compliant, and as part of the continuous-improvement work we're committed to as part of our new web operating model.

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

Some articles may have uploaded files in PDF format. Older PDFs documents may not meet accessibility standards. For example, they may not be structured to be accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2.

However, it passed on manual and automated tests, presenting a good level of accessibility with bookmarks, tab support, and reading order.

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.

Any new PDFs we publish will meet accessibility standards.

How we tested this website

This website was last tested in March 2020. The test was carried out by accessibility Passion4Social CIC (third-party), not involved in the design and development process.

We used this approach to test:

  • Automated tests: We used 6 software tools to identify accessibility and navigation issues across the entire website
  • The web pages with most issues were added to the manual testing
  • Using Google Analytics, we selected the pages most accessed by the users since January 2020 and added to manual testing
  • Manual tests: performed by three people with disabilities (blindness, global learning disabilities, and motor disabilities) and one professional web developer that run 3 simulation tools for dyslexia, low or partial vision, colour blindness, trembling movements, and keyboard navigation
  • Compatibility with browsers and assistive technology

Public Petitions is designed to be compatible with the following assistive technologies:

  • JAWS
  • NVDA
  • VoiceOver
  • Android
  • BlackBerry
  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Internet Explorer (from version 10)
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Microsoft Edge

Technical specifications

Accessibility of Public Petitions relies on the following technologies to work with the particular combination of web browser and any assistive technologies or plugins installed on your computer:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

These technologies are relied upon for conformance with the accessibility standards used.

Check out the full evaluation report.

This statement was prepared on 24 August 2020.

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