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Accessibility statement

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

As part of our commitment to accessibility we are required to publish where we know there are issues with our website.

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the following issues.

Non-HTML documents

Some of our older PDFs and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards – for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

Third party functionality

We depend on third parties to deliver functionality and transactions for us. As such, we cannot guarantee their accessibility.

Digital assistant (chatbot)

This accessibility statement applies to the ICS AI SmartChat Chatbot found on some pages.

The digital assistant (chatbot) feature known as 'Esca' appears on our website pages about Blue Badges if you have cookies enabled.

This chatbot is run by East Sussex County Council and the chatbot was developed by ICS AI. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this chatbot. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 200% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the chatbot using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the chatbot using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the chatbot using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also made the chatbot 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 chatbot is

We know some parts of the chatbot are not fully accessible. You can see a full list of any issues we currently know about in the non-accessible content section of this statement.

Feedback and contact information

If you need information in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:

Email: Web team

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in 7 days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this chatbot

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of services we use such as this chatbot. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements:

Email: Web team

Read tips on contacting organisations about inaccessible chatbots.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Chatbots 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 digital assistant’s accessibility

East Sussex County Council is committed to making the services it provides accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Chatbots and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This chatbot 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

Keyboard and screen reader users may have difficulty navigating the chatbot. Accessing chatbot response messages and inputting user questions does not function with keyboard controls. Users are expected to press Enter to move into specific messages within the chat window. Keyboard and screen reader users may not receive these instructions and have difficulty navigating the chat window and responses. This fails WCAG 2.1.1 Keyboard (A). The issue has been raised with Microsoft’s Enterprise Disability Answer Desk who have confirmed it to be a problem with a Microsoft software component and have escalated it to the product engineering team for resolution.

When keyboard or screen reader users interact with carousel replies, they may experience focus visibility issues and navigational issues. Focus visibility may not move new messages completely into the field of view for keyboard only users, and using the left and right arrow keys for keyboard or screen reader users will disrupt the journey and move the user back to the top of the chatbot navigation and out of the chat window. The issue has been raised with Microsoft’s Enterprise Disability Answer Desk who are investigating the problem.

The chatbot profile picture is read out to mobile screen reader as they move through messages while the picture is visually hidden. This fails WCAG 2.4.3 Focus Order (A). This issue is still under investigation. This behaviour may manifest itself inconsistently depending on the hosting site. The developers are working towards a solution which will resolve the issue.

If you find an issue that we have yet to identify, please contact us using one of the routes described in the ‘Reporting accessibility problems with this chatbot’ section of this statement.

This chatbot was last tested on 31 January 2022. The test was carried out by All Able Ltd.

Holiday food and fun booking system

We offer a range of activities at our holiday food and fun clubs for children on benefit-related free school meals. This service is linked to from the children and families pages on our website.

The events are advertised and booked using a third-party system provided by Eequ Ltd. We know that some images do not have alternative text. Read the Eequ Ltd accessibility statement.

Freedom of Information and complaints

Our FOI and complaints systems use a third party system called iCasework. We know this might not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Read the iCasework accessibility statement from Civil Aviation Authority.

If you have issues using this system to submit an FOI request or a complaint please contact:

Phone: 01273 482913

Email: Customer Services and Information Governance Officer

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