Accessibility statement

The census website is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 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 and contrast levels
  • 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 with a screen reader, including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver

We use simple language as much as possible.

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

How accessible is this website?

We know that some parts of this website are not fully accessible. For example:

  • some buttons and links are not correctly identified, which may make them harder to select
  • there’s a 45-minute timeout while filling in each question on the census questionnaire and while making requests, which cannot be extended
  • autocomplete is not available on input fields in the census questionnaire
  • on some pages the default written language is not correctly identified

Reporting accessibility problems

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

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:

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

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

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed.

Non-accessible content

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

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

  1. There’s a 45-minute timeout while filling in each question on the census questionnaire and while making requests. The user cannot turn off, adjust or extend this expiry time. This fails on WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.2.1 (Timing Adjustable).

    The census questionnaire is designed to:

    • reduce burden on users by only asking one question on each page
    • save each question page as the user moves to the next one, resetting the 45-minute timeout
    • allow people in a household to share devices while reducing the risk of them seeing each other’s individual census questionnaires

    We’ve applied the timeout to ensure security and usability for our many different users. It also means we can support many thousands of people accessing the census online at the same time.

  2. Autocomplete is not available on input fields in the census questionnaire, for example, when entering a name. This fails on WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.5 (Identity Input Purpose).

    It’s vital that the census collects accurate information. Autocomplete could mean that respondents select an incorrect or out-of-date answer. We also need to provide security for those who share devices in a household, but do not want to share their answers. With autocomplete, different members of a household could see how others have answered.

  3. Some links look like buttons and some buttons look like links. This means it’s difficult for some users to complete a transaction or onward journey. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).
  4. The change in the default written language is not correctly identified on some pages. This means screen readers will not read content correctly. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.1.2 (Language of Parts).

As part of an overall plan to improve our Survey Data Collection services at ONS, we plan to fix these issues by November 2021.

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

Some radio or checkbox elements have a description element within the bounding box. If accessed out of context using a screen reader, the descriptions may cut off before the end.

How we tested this website

This website was last tested in February 2021. Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) carried out the tests. DAC carried out manual testing with people with a range of disabilities on desktop, mobile and tablet devices. The testing consisted of a series of tasks and journeys through the census, using most pages and content types.

DAC carried out various tests over the last year for different areas of the census website. You can contact us to request any of the following reports to be sent to you:

  • ONS census questionnaire first report October 2020
  • ONS census questionnaire second full audit January 2021
  • ONS census.gov.uk framework January 2021
  • ONS census.gov.uk final audit February 2021

We’ve also tested for accessibility using Google Lighthouse to audit the website.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

During the census period (February to July 2021) we will continue to monitor how this website meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 AA standard.

We will update this page when we fix any of the accessibility issues.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 17 September 2019. It was last updated on 15 March 2021.