Accessible documents

This is the University of Stirling's policy for publishing accessible documents on  

Using our documents 

The University publishes documents in a range of formats, including:  

  • Microsoft Word documents
  • PDFs
  • Powerpoint (ppt)

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 are our documents

New documents we publish and documents you need to download or fill in to access our services will 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 just photocopies and 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

This mostly applies to our archive documents. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we do not currently have any plans to make them accessible. 

If you need to access information in one of these document types, you can contact us on and ask for an alternative format. 

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 the relevant team or for an alternative option. We’ll consider the request and get back to you in two days. 

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, contact the web team on

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 the accessibility of our documents

The University of Stirling 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 the University publishes 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

Some documents have elements that do not have sufficient colour contrast, for example where we have used white text over an unsuitable background image. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 (Contrast (Minimum)).

Some images in documents do not have a text alternative. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1: Non-text Content.

Some documents don’t use built-in headings and styles.

We plan to identify and fix these by the end of September 2022.

A few of our documents have diagrams. These images 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).

When we publish new documents we’ll make sure our use of diagrams meets accessibility standards.

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

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. 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 University Court minutes published before 23 September 2018


Maps are exempt from accessibility requirements but we will provide alternatives upon request.

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

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We have around 5 PDF documents that we are working to replace.

We use our governance processes to make sure that no new inaccessible documents can be uploaded to the website.

We provide advice and information on the website on how to make documents accessible.

This page was prepared on 26 July 2022. It was last updated on 26 July 2022.