Implementation of S167 lists of taxis - previously E

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Torbay Borough Council,

I am writing this Freedom of Information Request in relation to your Council's compliance or otherwise with the Government's statutory guidance on implementation of S165-167 of the Equality Act, relating to taxi services for wheelchair users. All taxi licensing bodies are obliged under S167(6) to have "due regard" to the document "Access for wheelchair users to taxis and private hire vehicles: statutory guidance" at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy... . The questions I raise below should be interpreted as requests for recorded information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I have previously made two similar requests to you, one in April 2017 and one in November 2017. I am now requesting an update to assess the impact of implementing this legislation, 12 months after it was commenced. Please note: this request is not identical to my previous requests and in any case asks for updated information as of the time of sending the request. It is therefore not appropriate to respond simply "see previous answer" or "situation unchanged".

In response to my previous FOI request on similar matters in November 2017, you indicated that you did not currently have any active plans to implement a S167 list.

1) The Government guidance states: "Whilst LAs are under no specific legal obligation to maintain a list under section 167, the Government recommends strongly that they do so. Without such a list the requirements of section 165 of the Act do not apply, and drivers may continue to refuse the carriage of wheelchair users, fail to provide them with assistance, or to charge them extra."
Please can you indicate whether you have now implemented a list of wheelchair accessible taxis under your powers set out in Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010, and/or a list of wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles?

2) If you do now have such a list, please provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2j):
2a) On what date was it put in place?
2b) The statutory guidance states "The Government therefore recommends that a vehicle should only be included in the authority’s (S167) list if it would be possible for the user of a “reference wheelchair” to enter, leave and travel in the passenger compartment in safety and reasonable comfort whilst seated in their wheelchair."
Is this the definition you have used for a taxi or PHV to be considered wheelchair accessible for the purposes of the list?

2c) The statutory guidance states: "Before drivers can be subject to the duties under section 165 of the Act, the LA must first publish their list of designated vehicles, and clearly mark it as ‘designated for the purposes of section 165 of the Act’. LAs should ensure that their designated lists are made easily available to passengers, and that vehicle owners and drivers are made aware. Lists should set out the details of the make and model of the vehicle, together with specifying whether the vehicle is a taxi or private hire vehicle, and stating the name of operator."
Have you published your list? Is it marked "designated for the purposes of Section 165 of the Act"? Is the make and model of each vehicle listed? Is each vehicle identified as a taxi or a private hire vehicle? Is the name of the operator of each vehicle given in the list? Have you made owners and drivers of vehicles on the list aware that their vehicle has been listed?

2d) The guidance states: "it would also be helpful to include information about the size and weight of wheelchair that can be accommodated, and whether wheelchairs that are larger than a “reference wheelchair” can be accommodated."
Does your list include information on each vehicle as to the size and weight of wheelchair that can be accommodated, and whether wheelchairs larger than a "reference wheelchair" can be accommodated?

2e) The guidance states: "We encourage LAs to provide drivers of taxis and PHVs who are not exempt from the duties with clear guidance on their duties with respect to the carriage of passengers in wheelchairs, either as part of existing driver-facing guidance, or as supplementary communication."
Have you provided non-exempt taxi/PHV drivers with such guidance?

2f) The guidance states: "We recommend that licensing authority rules for drivers are updated to make clear when a meter can and cannot be left running".
Have you updated such rules to make this clear?

2g) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables vehicle owners to appeal against the decision of a LA to include their vehicles on the designated list. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or in Scotland the sheriff, and must be made within 28 days of the vehicle in question being included on the LA’s published list."
Please tell me how many such applications have been made to the Magistrates Court, and how many have been successful.

2h) How many drivers has the authority prosecuted for discriminatory behaviour contrary to S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

2i) How many drivers licensed by yourselves have been prosecuted by other people or bodies for failure to comply with S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

2j) Where drivers have been prosecuted under S165 of the Act, thus affecting their standing as a "fit and proper person", what resultant disciplinary action have you taken in respect of their taxi or private hire vehicle drivers' licenses?

3) If you do not have a S167 list or lists now, please indicate if you still intend to produce such a list.

4) Irrespective of whether you have created a list or not or indeed whether you intend to create such a list, since 2010 you have been obliged to process applications under Section 166 of the Equality Act for driver medical exemptions from the duty to transport and not discriminate against wheelchair users. The Guidance states; "the Act allows LAs to grant exemptions from the duties to individual drivers. These provisions are contained in section 166, and were commenced on 1st October 2010."

4a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

4b) The guidance states: "We understand that some licensing authorities have already put in place procedures for accessing and exempting drivers, and as an absolute minimum, we think that the evidence provided should be in the form of a letter or report from a general practitioner."
Do you accept or require a letter or report from a GP to process applications for driver exemption under S166?

4c) The guidance states: "The Government’s view is that decisions on exemptions will be fairer and more objective if medical assessments are undertaken by professionals who have been specifically trained and who are independent of the applicant. We would recommend that independent medical assessors are used where a long-term exemption is to be issued, and that LAs use assessors who hold appropriate professional qualifications and who are not open to bias because of a personal or commercial connection to the applicant"
Have you appointed independent medical assessors to determine applications for medical exemption under S166?

4d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption under S166.

4e) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables drivers to appeal against the decision of a LA not to issue an exemption certificate. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or a sheriff in Scotland, and must be made within 28 days beginning with the date of the refusal."
How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions have been heard?

4f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were successful?

5) The guidance states: "We would therefore recommend that LAs also publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchair into a seat within the vehicle. It should be made clear however that this list of vehicles has not been published for the purposes of section 165 of the Act and drivers of those vehicles are therefore not subject to the legal duties to provide assistance."
Do you currently publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchairs into a seat within the vehicle?

6) I am interested in why some local authorities have not decided to create a S167 list, despite the Government guidance advising they do so. Please tell me why you have not as yet decided to implement a S167 list.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Freedom of Information, Torbay Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 2 May 2018. We are currently processing your request and will contact you within 20 working days.

If you have any queries regarding your request, please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting the reference number above in all communications.

Yours sincerely

Katherine Boyer
Information Compliance Apprentice
Torbay Council
 
Phone: 01803 207034
Mail: Information Compliance, Torbay Council, Town Hall, Castle Circus, Torquay, TQ1 3DR

The Information Compliance Team will aim to acknowledge correspondence within 3 working days unless a restriction is in place.

This email and any attachments are intended solely for the use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential information and/or may be legally privileged. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete this email.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Freedom of Information, Torbay Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Paulley

 

Further to your request received on 2 May 2018, I confirm that Torbay
Council has now considered your request under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

 

Our response is attached.

 

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your
own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purpose of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial
publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

 

Torbay Council publishes Access to Information requests and responses on
its online Disclosure Log. Only requests deemed to be in the public
interest will be included and any request included within this log will be
de-personalised accordingly.

 

To view the Council’s Disclosure Log, please visit
[1]www.torbay.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

If you have any queries about this email please do not hesitate to contact
me directly, quoting the reference number listed at the top of this letter
in all communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the Council’s response to your request and wish to
make a complaint please write to Information Compliance, Town Hall, Castle
Circus, Torquay, TQ1 3DR or complete the on-line complaint form that can
be found at [2]www.torbay.gov.uk.

 

If after going through the Council’s complaints process you are still not
satisfied, you can contact the Information Commissioner direct.

 

Information Helpline: 0303 123 1113
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House Email:
[4]www.ico.org.uk
Water Lane Website:

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9
5AF

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Katherine Boyer

Information Compliance Apprentice

Torbay Council

 

Phone: 01803 207034

Mail: Information Compliance, Torbay Council, Town Hall, Castle Circus,
Torquay, TQ1 3DR

 

The Information Compliance Team will aim to acknowledge correspondence
within 3 working days unless a restriction is in place.

 

This email and any attachments are intended solely for the use of the
intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential information and/or may
be legally privileged. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender immediately and delete this email.

 

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References

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Dear Torbay Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Torbay Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Implementation of S167 lists of taxis - previously E'.

In response to my question,

"Please can you indicate whether you have now implemented a list of wheelchair accessible taxis under your powers set out in Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010, and/or a list of wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles?"

you responded

"Torbay Council does provide a list under section 167 of the Equality Act 2010 and has done for a number of years. This can be found at - http://www.torbay.gov.uk/business/licens... "

That webpage states

"this list of vehicles is a voluntary list and not gathered under the Equality Act 2010, Section 167."

So how can you claim that this is a Section 167 list?

Your response to that question is contradictory and a mockery. It also makes your responses to my questions 3 and 6 invalid.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Torbay Council, Torbay Borough Council

Reference: 330583 - Internal Review in relation to FOI 18190197
 
Dear Mr Paulley
 
Thank you for your email received on 2 July 2018.
 
You will receive a response to your complaint under Stage 1 of the
Council's Complaints Procedure. You should expect to receive a response to
your complaint by no later than 13 July 2018. If there is going to be a
delay, the relevant department will let you know.
 
Should you not hear from us as expected or have any queries, please
contact [1][email address] 
 
Further information on the Council’s Complaints Procedure can be found on
the Council’s website at www.torbay.gov.uk/complaints.
 
Yours sincerely

Bee Laithwaite
Information Compliance Support Officer
Torbay Council
 
(01803 207177
* Torquay Town Hall, Castle Circus, Torquay, TQ1 3DR
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Torbay Council, Torbay Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

Please ignore the last email as I logged it as a standard complaint and
not an Internal Review. 
 
Case 330583
 
Thank you for your email received on 29 June 2018.
 
As a result of your complaint we will be carrying out an internal review.

An officer, not involved in the original case, will reconsider your
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
notify you of their decision by 26 July 2018. If it is not possible for us
to reply by this date, we will write to you and inform you of the date you
can expect your reply and the reason for the delay.
 
Should you not hear from us when you expect, or have any queries, please
do not hesitate to contact us.
 
Yours sincerely

Bee Laithwaite
Information Compliance Support Officer
Torbay Council
 
(01803 207177
* Torquay Town Hall, Castle Circus, Torquay, TQ1 3DR
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Torbay Council,

I have asked the ICO to conduct a S50 assessment.

Dear ICO

Please conduct an assessment of this request:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

The response that the council provided is non-sensical.

In response to my request for information,

"Please can you indicate whether you have now implemented a list of
wheelchair accessible taxis under your powers set out in Section 167
of the Equality Act 2010, and/or a list of wheelchair accessible
private hire vehicles?"

they responded

"Torbay Council does provide a list under section 167 of the Equality
Act 2010 and has done for a number of years. This can be found at
http://www.torbay.gov.uk/business/licens...
"

That webpage states

"this list of vehicles is a voluntary list and not gathered under the
Equality Act 2010, Section 167."

Their response to my request for information is therefore
non-sensical.

Unfortunately they have failed to respond to my request for an
internal review and 20+ working days have now passed. So please
conduct a S50 assessment of their response to my FOI request.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Torbay Council, Torbay Borough Council

Reference: 330583
 
Dear Mr Paulley
 
Case 330583
 
Further to your complaint received on 29 June 2018 I have been asked to
undertake a review of the response to your request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 request ref. 18190197.

I have reviewed your request and the information provided to you in
response.  You are quite right that the link provided to you takes you to
a Torbay Council webpage which is contradictory to the information that
you requested.

The Authority does not provide a list under section 167 of the Equality
Act 2010 and the list that can be found on our webpage clearly states that
it is not intended to be such a list.

I can advise you that in light of your request and my internal review the
Licensing Team is reviewing the Authority's position as regards to
providing a section 167 compliant list.

Conclusion

You were provided with information which was incorrect and for that I am
sorry.  Accordingly your complaint is upheld.  Please accept my apologies
for any confusion caused.

If you remain unhappy with the outcome of your internal review, you are
entitled to refer your complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office
(ICO) for a decision.

The ICO can be contacted at: 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF or [1]www.ico.org.uk
 
Yours sincerely

Samantha Goodwin
Senior Lawyer
Torbay Council
 
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir