S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - A existing list

Doug Paulley made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Coventry City Council as part of a batch sent to 41 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The authority would like to / has responded by postal mail to this request.

Dear Coventry City 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 a similar request to you in April 2017. 6+ months later, I am requesting extra detail. I am doing so because the Statutory Guidance states "We would expect these arrangements to take no more than a maximum of six months to put in place, following the commencement of these provisions" - "these provisions" having been commenced on 6th April.

In response to my previous FOI request on similar matters in April 2017, you indicated that you have a Section 167 list.

1) Please could you confirm that you still have a S167 list or lists?

2) Assuming so, provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2j):
2a) 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?

2b) 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?

2c) 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?

2d) 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?

2e) 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?

2f) 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.

2g) 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?

2h) 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?

2i) 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) 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."

3a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

3b) 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?

3c) 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?

3d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption under S166.

3e) 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?

3f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were successful?

4) 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?

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Freedom of Information Portal,

Dear Sir / Madam

REQ03434 - Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your Email requesting information under the above
legislation, which we received on 06 November 2017. We will respond to you
within 20 working days of the date of receipt.  If there are any problems
with this request that may delay the response, we will contact you.

For more information, you can view the latest information issued by the
Council on our [1]Disclosure Log, [2]Publication Scheme and [3]Open Data.

Please quote your reference number in any further communications on this
matter.

Kind regards,
Information Governance Team

Room 21a, The Council House, Earl Street, Coventry, CV1 5RR
E-mail: [4][Coventry City Council request email]

References

Visible links
1. http://www.coventry.gov.uk/foieirrequests
2. http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/200031/d...
3. http://www.coventry.gov.uk/opendata
4. mailto:[Coventry City Council request email]

Pinfield, Samantha, Coventry City Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Please find attached the Council’s response to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Please direct all correspondence in connection with Freedom of Information
requests to:

 

[1][Coventry City Council request email]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Business Support Officer

Coventry City Council

Tel:  024 7683 3333

[2]www.coventry.gov.uk

 

[3][IMG]

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are
intended solely for the use of the addressee. If you have received this
e-mail in error, you are requested to contact the sender All e-mails are
monitored by Coventry City Council's ICT Security, using Mimecast. The
views contained in this e-mail are those of the author and not necessarily
those of Coventry City Council.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Coventry City Council request email]
2. http://www.coventry.gov.uk/
3. http://www.coventry2021.co.uk/

Dear Coventry City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Coventry City Council's handling of my FOI request 'S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - A existing list'.

On 7th November, at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4... , in response to my question:

"Please advise if you have produced, or currently intend to produce, a list of wheelchair accessible: taxis
and private hire vehicles under the powers set out in S167 of the Equality Act 2010."

You said:

"Coventry City Council has not produced and does not intend to produce a list of wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles. ... NB. The information published on the Coventry City Council website link is not intended to portray itself as a list."

Indeed, at https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/25/taxi... despite the section referring to a S165 designated list there in fact isn't any such list.

I am therefore confused that you say in response to my subsequent FOI request, at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4... , that you have a published list marked “designated for the purposes of Section 165 of the Act" that lists each vehicle, including PHV.

The two seem somewhat incongruous, mutually incompatible and non-sensical in combination. Please can you therefore re-check? A simple way of resolving this would be by supplying me with a link to the actual designated list. Please do so.

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Information Governance, Coventry City Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

We acknowledge receipt of your email dated 28 November in respect of the
recent Freedom of Information requests submitted to the Council and note
your query in your email.

 

On checking the responses issued to you under references REQ02625 and more
recently REQ03434 we have spoken in detail to the Senior Licensing &
Enforcement Officer in Taxi Licensing in order to clarify the details.
During these discussions it has come to light that the incorrect
information was provided to you in the first response (REQ02625) and the
senior officer has offered his sincere apologies for this error.

 

The response that was issued to you earlier this week (REQ03434) contains
the correct information and as per your email, we are able to provide you
with a link to this list on the Council website. 

 

[1]http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/25/taxi_...

 

To further assist you the list can be found in the ‘Designated vehicle
list (under s.165 Equality Act 2010)’ section and under the wording in
bold licensed PHOs.

 

We again would like to offer our sincere apologies for the confusion and
error made in our first response, but trust that our recent response and
this email now clarifies the situation.

 

Best regards

 

Sue Gilbert

Information Governance Officer

Information Governance Team

[2][IMG]

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are
intended solely for the use of the addressee. If you have received this
e-mail in error, you are requested to contact the sender All e-mails are
monitored by Coventry City Council's ICT Security, using Mimecast. The
views contained in this e-mail are those of the author and not necessarily
those of Coventry City Council.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/25/taxi_...
2. http://www.coventry2021.co.uk/

Dear Information Governance,

I've requested the ICO undertake an assessment under S50 of the FOI Act, in the following terms.

hi,

Please conduct a S50 assessment of this request:

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

There's a similar request I made in April that you were involved with,
your reference FS50683921,
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

I just don't know where to start with this. I have no idea what
Coventry think their situation was in April, nor what the situation is
now.

They say "we are able to provide you with a link to this list on the
Council website.
http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/25/taxi_...
To further assist you the list can be found in the ‘Designated vehicle
list (under s.165 Equality Act 2010)’ section and under the wording in
bold licensed PHOs."

At
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...
they state that the list is marked "designated for the purposes of
Section 165 of the Act", that it includes the make and model of each
vehicle and whether it is a taxi or a private hire vehicle.

I simply can't see that list on their website, as they claim. They
seem to simply list the vehicle models that they license as hackney
carriages and that's it.

Their response confuses me mightily. They are self-contradictory, they
state their earlier responses are not correct, and round and round the
Mulberry bush we go.

They seem to think that their list of models of car is a list under
S167. I appreciate that you do not make determinations as to whether
an authority's interpretation of the law is correct or not, but this
comes down to a determination as to whether or not they are giving
correct information when they say they hold, or do not hold, a list
under S167 of the Act.

None of the other 346 taxi licensing bodies in the UK have claimed the
belief that a list of models of vehicles is a list held under S167 of
the Act. They, the DfT's statutory guidance issued under S167(6) and
the Act itself are totally clear that a S167 list is a list of actual,
individual, physical vehicles.

I just find this council's response to both my freedom of information
requests to be totally abstruse. I wish they would simply provide me
with the information I requested in April, and the information I
requested in November, in a simple and intelligible form. Surely that
isn't too much to ask...

Please assist, and please issue S50 DNs for both the above FOI
requests.

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley