Using this website
This website is run by the Financial Ombudsman Service and is designed to be compatible with a range of assistive software, including screen readers like JAWS and NVDA, and speech recognition software. We want our website to be accessible to as many people as possible. 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 aim to make our website text as straightforward and simple as possible. To help support our commitment to clear communications, we’re a member of the Plain Language Commission and our website has been accredited the Clear English Standard.
Get help changing your computer settings
There are lots of things you can do on your computer to make web pages more accessible. For example, you can:
- magnify your screen
- change text size and colours
- make your mouse easier to use
- use screen readers and talking browsers
If you need help doing these things, you’ll find clear and helpful guidance on AbilityNet.
Our website accessibility statement
This accessibility statement covers the following sites and sub-domains:
How accessible this website is
We know some parts of these websites are not fully accessible:
PDFs in our online decisions database:
- The PDF documents published within our decisions database are not fully accessible to screen reader software.
Our online complaint forms:
- The calendar pop-up used to select dates in certain fields has structural issues that make it difficult to navigate for users of screen reader software.
- The calendar pop-up and ReCAPTCHA box both have borders with contrast ratios lower than the requirement.
Our job application portal:
- There are some issues with labelling and order of some of the page content and buttons
- There are issues with some form inputs or status updates that may make it difficult to navigate or that are not being conveyed to assistive technologies.
These websites are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the exemptions that are listed below.
Our non-accessible content
The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons:
Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations
Our job application portal
Our job application portal provides a key way for people to view current job vacancies and to apply for employment with the organization. Our end to end recruitment processes use third-party software and we are currently working through a development roadmap with our supplier to scope and fix the accessibility issues highlighted by our most recent accessibility testing.
- The alt text “logo” is not descriptive enough as there are multiple logos on the page so the user would be unable to tell what they represent.
- Heading level isn’t in order as heading level 2 is skipped. The heading structure should follow the hierarchical order, where each heading level increases by one step.
- The Calendar button can be reached and operated by keyboard-only users. However, this capability is removed when the screen reader is active. This will prevent screen reader users from entering their date of birth using the date picker.
- The updates to dynamic content are not always as clear as they could be. When the focus moves to any Search inputs, such as Job type, Frequency or location, the hint states that “0 items are selected”, regardless of the previously made selections. This could be confusing for a non-sighted user since they may assume that the selections have not been saved in the system.
- The titles of several pages are generic and do not accurately describe their purposes. When the page opens, a user may find the title of a name of the homepage but not the current screen. As a result of this, a user may not have confidence that they are on the correct page.
- The “save and continue” and “back” buttons are located at the very end of the page, after the footer section. While they are in the tab order, having these important buttons at the very end of the flow may mean that they are missed. Some users may not know that a submit button exists or assume that the form contains errors, and they cannot move on until these 'errors' are corrected.
- Expandable form inputs do not convey their state to screen reader users. While they do provide a name and that they are not selected, when a user activates this component, there is immediately other information that is read out to them, rather than being told that the content has expanded.
We are currently working with our supplier on a series of updates to fix these issues, with completion of these fixes scheduled for Autumn 2023. The system will be tested as part of our regular programme of accessibility testing, to check that amendments made have resolved the issues identified in the previous round of testing.
PDFs in our online decisions database – disproportionate burden
We use a series of systems to publish the PDF versions of the final decision letters that are contained in the decisions database on our website. We are currently unable to fully edit the documents before publication to aid users of assistive technology. As a result, the PDF documents published in the database are not fully accessible to screen reader software. Specifically:
- our logo isn’t marked as an image in these documents and has no alt text. Users are not made aware of the presence of the image or the meaning of the image – 1.1.1 Non-text Content (Level A)
- there are no heading tags on these PDFs meaning that some users may struggle to navigate the contents of the page and understand the relationship between the text and headings – 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A), 2.4.6 Headings and Labels (Level AA)
- there are no list tags added to these PDF documents. Screen reader users may have difficulty understanding the relationship between the list data – 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A)
- the language of these documents is set to Dutch, while the documents are in English. So it is possible that some screen reader users may have some words mispronounced, which could cause confusion for them – 2.1.1 Keyboard (Level A).
The decisions database is a key source of information for all website users. It shows all the final decisions we’ve issued since 1 April 2013. Publishing final decisions allows businesses and consumers to learn from our previous decisions and provides transparency to our work. There are therefore clear benefits of the system being accessible to people using assistive software.
Despite these benefits, we believe that complying with the accessibility requirement in the Regulations to deal with the issues listed above would impose a disproportionate burden on the Financial Ombudsman.
To make the decision PDFs compliant with the accessibility requirement would mean significant changes. That would involve development work across several systems, instead of being changes that could be made quickly and discretely. We’re currently re-tendering our technology support partner, which is due to be completed in Summer 2022. After that, we will have a 'roadmap' or plan of work that sets out the improvements to make. The work needed to remedy the issues will be completed at a suitable time in that work plan.
We could complete this work outside of the plan, but we are satisfied that doing so in isolation would involve disproportionate cost and would probably be time consuming. We are, however, continuing to look at options to consider whether there may be a more proportionate alternative.
Although that is the case, we can make specific/decision documents available in alternative formats on request. Please contact our communications team.
Our online complaint forms – disproportionate burden
- The calendar pop up used to select dates in certain fields has structural issues that make it difficult to navigate for users of screen reader software – 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A).
- The calendar popup and ReCAPTCHA box both have borders with contrast ratios lower than the requirement of 3:1 – 1.4.11 Non-text Contrast (Level AA)
Our online complaint forms provide a key way for people to submit complaints to us in a structured format. The forms are structured in a way which ensures we receive the information we need from a customer to be able to decide if it’s a complaint we can help with. There are clear benefits to the form being fully accessible to people using assistive software, though we do provide a range of alternative ways in which customers can complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.
There are two remaining accessibility issues with the online complaint forms – we believe these issues are covered by the disproportionate burden exemption.
The forms are provided and hosted by a third party, Egress. We have been working with Egress to improve the accessibility of our forms – and they have made product improvements to ensure people using assistive software can use the forms as intended. The outstanding issues need a wider product upgrade to resolve; Egress have said this is scheduled for the third quarter of financial year 2023/24. Updates will be tested as part of our regular programme of accessibility testing, to check that amendments made have resolved the issues identified in the previous round of testing.
Due to the nature of the fixes, we cannot get them done outside of this scheduled release, or arrange customised work to resolve these issues. The alternative would be to find a different provider for our online complaint forms. This would take a number of months, require a contract change – and would likely come with its own accessibility difficulties. It would be costly and time consuming in circumstances where a fix for these issues is already scheduled, and where we already provide other ways of making a complaint. We are therefore satisfied that addressing these issues now would be a disproportionate burden.
Other ways of making a complaint include an accessible PDF version of the form, which is available to download on our site and can be sent to us by email, or we can take details on the phone. More information about how to contact us to make a complaint is available on the contact us page on our website.
Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations
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.
Feedback and contact information
If you need information on this website in a different format, such as an audio recording, large print or braille, please email our accessibility team or call our helpline on 0800 023 4567 – we’ll do our best to meet your needs.
Reporting accessibility problems with this website
We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations, please contact our communications team.
Technical information about the website’s accessibility
The Financial Ombudsman Service is is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
Preparation of this accessibility statement
This statement was prepared in September 2020. It was last reviewed in February 2023.
This website was last tested in January 2023. The test was carried out by Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC). They conducted usability testing with a team of disabled users, and tested our website using technical auditing tools. All aspects of our website were tested by checking a sample of pages covering all of our available page templates and blocks.
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, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).
Recite Me accessibility toolbar
ReciteMe is available to use on our website. It allows you to customise our site in a way that works for you. It offers a choice of accessibility tools such as a screen reader, translations and display options.
Our accessibility services
Our service is for everyone who needs our help resolving financial disputes.
When you contact us or use our service, we can provide information in different formats and adapt the way we communicate with you – depending on your needs. For example, we can send out alternative formats of our complaint form, use Braille, large print, coloured paper or background, audio CDs and media files, and we can make and receive calls using Text Relay or our British Sign Language relay service.
If you need information from us, or from this website, in a different format, such as an audio recording, large print or braille, please email us or call our helpline on 0800 023 4567 with details of your case reference number – we’ll do our best to meet your needs.
Find out more about how we can adapt our service to meet your needs in the information below. You can find out more about our approach to making reasonable adjustments in our reasonable adjustments policy.