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Accessibility Statement for PolicyWISE

This accessibility statement applies to the PolicyWISE website, accessed via

The Open University’s web presence consists of several million individual pages across numerous websites. We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites, and accessibility is an essential part of our mission. To adapt the content to your needs or preferences you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrasts levels and fonts.
  • Resize text up to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website.
  • Zoom in up to 400% without loss of information or functionality.
  • Navigate the website using just a keyboard.
  • tab to ‘Skip to content’ links at the top of the page to jump over repetitive information to the main content.
  • tab through the content; the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change.
  • control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials.
  • Use a screen reader (e.g. JAWs, NVDA) to :
    listen to the content of web pages and use any functionality on the page.
    list the headings and subheadings in the page and then jump to their location on the page.
    bring up a list of meaningful links on the page.
  • Use transcripts or closed captions with most audio and video materials.
  • Download learning materials in alternative formats (e.g. Word document, PDF, ePub, Kindle eBook).
  • If you have a print disability we provide SensusAccess to students, which is an automated service that converts files from one format to another, for example, PDF to text, audio, Word or Braille.
  • AbilityNet also provides advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, we know some elements of Open University websites are not fully accessible:

  • Older legacy and archived material.
  • Some third-party content not created by The Open University.
  • Sites linked from Open University pages but not run by the Open University.
  • Some activities (for example some of those involving maps, charts, graphs, online-experiments, interactive activities and features).
  • Some content with specialised notations, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and music.
  • Some content created in tutorials.
  • Older PDFS and Word documents may not be fully accessible to screen reader software.
  • The colour contrast for some text and some interface components (for example search boxes, check boxes) is not sufficient.
  • Some online forms are not set up correctly to include helpful direction for screen reader users.
  • We aim to provide accessible alternative content or activities where we can. For more information please visit What Support is Available and for more guidance please visit Studying on a Screen.

Feedback and contact information

If you find that a certain section of our website is not accessible and you can’t get access to the information that you need please use the Open University Accessibility Feedback Form to request support and we will ensure that you are provided with the information you require. You will need to provide your contact details and Personal Identifier if you are a student so we can get back to you. You should expect to hear back from us within 5 working days.

The OU is very experienced in meeting accessibility needs for our students. In many cases we are able to provide module and other study support materials in alternative formats for students who indicate a need for this when completing a Disability Support Form.

In addition, some module materials are available in different formats and can be downloaded from module websites. Students can contact their Student Support Team for advice.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website.

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. If you find a problem that isn’t already listed on this page, or you think we’re not meeting the requirements of the current accessibility regulations (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018), please use the Open University Accessibility Feedback Form which is monitored daily.

We will ask you for the web address (URL) of the page and a description of the problem. We will also ask for your name and email address so that we can contact you about your feedback. You should expect to hear back from us within 5 working days.

Enforcement procedure

If you are a student, or someone who has had contact with the University before, and have a complaint about the accessibility of our websites, you should raise a complaint via the complaints and appeals process.

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 are not happy with our response and all our procedures have been exhausted, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS). If you are based in Northern Ireland you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

If you are neither a student, nor someone who has had contact with the University before and have a complaint about the accessibility of our website, you should go directly to the EASS.

Contacting us

If you wish to contact us about anything not covered above, please visit our Contact Page where we have a comprehensive list of services to suit your specific enquiry and requirements.
Technical information about this website’s accessibility.

The Open University is committed to making its 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 version 2.1 AA standard.

Non accessible content

We have not conducted a full accessibility audit of the website to determine non-compliances and exemptions. This section will be completed when we have undertaken a full accessibility audit by September 2024.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Current web technology is not capable of ensuring the accessibility of specialised notations (e.g., mathematics, chemistry, physics, music, phonetics etc.). We are monitoring developments in these areas and will improve our services as the technology matures.

Some online activities cannot be made fully accessible (e.g., categorising an image). Wherever practical, an alternative activity will be provided.

The level of accessibility during live events is limited. We are working closely with third-party suppliers and improving our internal systems to improve accessibility during live events.

The Open University provides links to external websites that may not meet accessibility standards.

Disproportionate burden

We are not claiming Disproportionate Burden at this domain level. If there are any claims they will be declared within the specific statement for that sub-domain.

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

We do not have anything out of scope at this domain level. If there are any areas out of scope this will be declared within the specific statement for that sub-domain.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

As part of our Digital Governance Framework, The Open University has an approved Digital Accessibility standard which is available to all staff members. The standard sets WCAG 2.1 AA as a benchmark and aligns with our legal obligation under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. As part of the Digital Governance Framework, staff are provided with resources and guidance to ensure they are able to achieve this standard and are following best practice.

As we build new websites and digital services, we strive to ensure that they are accessible and comply with the current legislation. We also review and audit older sites to identify what changes we need to make to improve accessibility.
The Open University website development process has stages that test the usability and accessibility of new and updated platforms, activities and services against WCAG 2.1. As well as working with external consultants, an internal Accessibility and Usability Evaluation team helps to offer guidance in this area and to ensure that accessibility and usability are embedded in the design and development process for developers and content creators.

In addition, The Open University is undertaking a long-term project to roll out the use of the Siteimprove digital tool to monitor website quality, accessibility, and compliance across the public-facing parts of the web estate. Staff are offered training for how to use the automated outputs of the tool to identify defects and areas of development and integrate this into web estate management effectively.

These activities ensure that we are meeting and responding to the changing digital requirements of our students and users as well as developing and delivering systems and websites which are as accessible and usable as possible. The Open University is committed to accessibility and demonstrates this in a number of additional ways:

The Securing Greater Accessibility team (SeGA) was set up in 2010 as a university-wide initiative to promote accessibility and inclusive practice and support students and staff. SeGA offers training and guidance in accessibility in teaching and learning and oversees forums and activities for a wider community of practice and research.

The Accessibility and Usability team runs a network of over 80 accessibility champions, who work as points of contact on accessibility queries within their respective departments.

Staff at the Open University are offered on-demand accessibility training in a variety of topics to support them to carry out their roles. This will be complemented in the future by the introduction of bespoke, mandatory training in accessibility for all staff to complete in order to further embed accessibility good practice.

The Open University Library provides wide-ranging support to students with disabilities and specific requirements. As well as working with students directly to offer guidance in accessible resources, the Open University Library staff work with publishers to help improve the accessibility of their products.

The Open University aims to make studying as accessible as possible and a range of adjustments and support are available. A well-established disability support team provides guidance for students and arranges for students to have support when accessing digital content online or alternatively, access to a variety of formats. A wealth of resources for information and guidance in enabling students to study as effectively as possible in the digital environment are available via the help centre.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 31st October 2023. It was last reviewed on 31st October 2023.

Testing was conducted across the website on 24th October 2023. Each page was tested using the Siteimprove browser extension. The testing was carried out by a member of the LDS (Corporate and Commerical) team at the Open University.

We will ensure that a full accessibility audit is completed by 30th September 2024, after which this statement will be updated to show all areas of non-compliance along with resolution dates.