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confirmation of TfL policy position and responsibilities under Equality Act

Linda Miller made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

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Dear Transport for London,

In your response to my FOI request FOI-1119-1516 you stated

“The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling sets out some broad aspirations and targets
for cycling. While the Vision describes the creation of a ‘tube network
for the bike’ – a network of routes across London – it contains no firm
proposals for any part of this network. Equality Impact Assessments are
therefore carried out at programme and project level rather than at
portfolio level, where they can address location-specific issues. These
are published by TfL, or the relevant London borough, as part of the
consultation material in each case.”

In your response you then went on to say:

“In considering the design of our streets, we closely consider the needs of
all users throughout the design process. On significant infrastructure
projects we:

• Complete Equality Impact Assessments (EQIA) at the outset of the project, to review potential impacts on equality target groups, including
disabled people”

In my subsequent request ref FOI-1685-1516 I therefore asked you to provide
“A copy of the Equality Impact Assessment published 'by TfL or the
relevant London Borough' (in this case Enfield) and circulated as part of
the consultation materials for the i) Enfield Cycle A105, ii) Enfield Town
and iii) Southbury Cycle Enfield consultations”

Your response was that
“Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) will occur on the
London Borough of Enfield’s corridor schemes. These will be undertaken
once the consultation period has ended. For the A105 corridor scheme the
EIA has now begun. The Borough has decided to conduct the EIA following
consultation”.

Your answer to FOI request ref FOI-1685-1516 therefore implies that, in contrast to TfL’s stated policy, Enfield did not conduct and publish an Equality Impact Assessment to inform the public consultation. You went on to give reasons why Enfield had decided not to comply with TFL policy requirements, namely because there were multiple options and because undertaking an EIA is costly.

1. Can you therefore now confirm that although TfL policy states that it requires boroughs to circulate equality impact analyses as part of their consultation documentation,
a) TfL fails to ensure that this happens; and
b) That in the case of the Mini-Holland infrastructure proposals TfL failed to check that London Borough of Enfield had complied with this TfL policy requirement.

2) The Mini-Holland projects constitute significant infrastructure projects. Furthermore, the Invitation to submit Expressions of Interest for Cycling ‘Mini-Hollands’ in Outer London sent out by TfL and signed jointly by Andrew Gilligan and Ben Plowden (TfL) said that

“[TfL] will then shortlist the councils whose outlines have shown the greatest promise and work with each of them (with seedcorn funding as necessary) to develop fully costed and detailed programmes and to gain a greater understanding of their capacities and their true levels of commitment. We will select the successful candidates in autumn 2013.”

Given that TfL worked with councils to develop the detailed Mini-Holland infrastructure programmes, and that TfL is one of the organisations named in Appendix 19 of the Equality Act 2010 as being subject to the General Equality Duty which requires bodies to

“[have] due regard to the need to:
- Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
- Take steps to meet the needs of people with certain protected characteristics where these are different from the needs of other people.” [Source: EHRC 2012)

Can you therefore please provide evidence of how TfL paid due regard to i) their duty to remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by protected groups; and ii) took steps to ensure that the needs of people with certain protected characteristics, specifically age and disability (including visual impairments) were taken into account in a) shortlisting expressions of interest for Mini-Holland and b) working with councils to develop their Mini-Holland proposals.

4. Given that you appear to have accepted ‘expense’ and ‘the availability of different options’ as excuses for L B Enfield not complying with TfL policy requirements, can you tell me:

a) if TfL has now revised and/or abandoned the policy requirement to circulate Equality Impact Assessments with the consultation documentation for funded infrastructure projects?
b) If TfL’s policy position now is that there is no need to determine whether different alternative options would entail greater or lesser impact on protected groups prior to agreeing the payment of public monies for the design and consultation stages of infrastructure projects.

5) Lastly, can you tell me who, i) within the cycling division of TfL, and ii) within TfL overall, has overall responsibility for, and oversight of, equalities issues and in particular your responsibilities under the General Equality Duty and the Equality Act.

Yours faithfully,
Dr Linda Miller

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Dr Miller

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1857-1516

 

Thank you for your e-mail received on 5 January 2015 asking for further
information about Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs).

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. 

 

A response will be provided to you by 2 February 2016. We publish a
substantial range of information on our website on subjects including
operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance
and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently
asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
feel free to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[2][TfL request email]

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Miller

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1857-1516

 

Thank you for your e-mail received on 5 January 2015 asking for further
information about Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs).

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and TfL’s information access policy. 

 

Because we are currently finalising the response we will not be able to
resolve your request within the statutory 20 working day.

 

Please accept my apologies for this delay. We will provide you with a
response as soon as possible.

 

In the meantime, if you have any queries relating to your request, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

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FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

Dear Dr Miller

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1857-1516

 

Thank you for your e-mail received on 5 January 2016 asking for further
information about Equality Impact Assessments (EqIAs). I apologise for the
delay in my response.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we hold some of the information you require.

 

1.    Can you therefore now confirm that although TfL policy states that
it requires boroughs to circulate equality impact analyses as part of
their consultation documentation,

a.    TfL fails to ensure that this happens; and

b.    That in the case of the Mini-Holland infrastructure proposals TfL
failed to check that London Borough of Enfield had complied with this TfL
policy requirement.

 

Under the Equality Act 2010, TfL is required, in broad terms, to have ‘due
regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of
opportunity and foster good relations when making decisions and developing
and implementing policies.

 

Whilst public authorities are not legally required to undertake EqIAs, TfL
believes the EqIAs framework provides a positive contribution to meeting
its responsibilities under the Equality Act, and therefore expects them to
be undertaken for all major TfL projects and policies.

 

2.    The Mini-Holland projects constitute significant infrastructure
projects. Furthermore, the Invitation to submit Expressions of Interest
for Cycling ‘Mini-Hollands’ in Outer London sent out by TfL and signed
jointly by Andrew Gilligan and Ben Plowden (TfL) said that

 

“[TfL] will then shortlist the councils whose outlines have shown the
greatest promise and work with each of them (with seedcorn funding as
necessary) to develop fully costed and detailed programmes and to gain a
greater understanding of their capacities and their true levels of
commitment. We will select the successful candidates in autumn 2013.”

 

Given that TfL worked with councils to develop the detailed Mini-Holland
infrastructure programmes, and that TfL is one of the organisations named
in Appendix 19 of the Equality Act 2010 as being subject to the General
Equality Duty which requires bodies to “[have] due regard to the need to:

-       Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their
protected characteristics.

-       Take steps to meet the needs of people with certain protected
characteristics where these are different from the needs of other people.”
[Source: EHRC 2012)

 

Can you therefore please provide evidence of how TfL paid due regard to

i.              their duty to remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by
protected groups; and

ii.            took steps to ensure that the needs of people with certain
protected characteristics, specifically age and disability (including
visual impairments) were taken into account in a) shortlisting expressions
of interest for Mini-Holland and b) working with councils to develop their
Mini-Holland proposals.

 

The Mini-Holland Programme mainly consists of schemes on the borough road
network (borough led schemes). As the boroughs are the highway authority
for these roads, it is their responsibility, pursuant to their now
statutory obligations under the Equality Act, to ensure EqIAs are carried
out, following their own processes, and they will be the owner of that
EqIA. The extent to which a borough or boroughs consult on impact
assessments is a matter for them.

 

4.    Given that you appear to have accepted ‘expense’ and ‘the
availability of different options’ as excuses for L B Enfield not
complying with TfL policy requirements, can you tell me:

a.    if TfL has now revised and/or abandoned the policy requirement to
circulate Equality Impact Assessments with the consultation documentation
for funded infrastructure projects?

b.    If TfL’s policy position now is that there is no need to determine
whether different alternative options would entail greater or lesser
impact on protected groups prior to agreeing the payment of public monies
for the design and consultation stages of infrastructure projects.

 

The Mini-Holland bidding and shortlisting process, required each of the
boroughs to submit a statement of intent regarding conducting EqIAs.
Enfield’s can be found in their bid document on page 86 of the attached
document.

 

In Enfield, EqIAs are being submitted with the consultation report and
made public when the scheme goes to Cabinet. For the A105 this meeting was
held on 10 February 2016.

 

TfL is keen that boroughs have a dialogue with relevant stakeholders, and
in working with the Mini-Holland boroughs such as Enfield, encourages
Partnership Board Meetings or stakeholder meetings to include a wide range
of organisations to discuss the designs of the major schemes, for example
organisations such as the Enfield Disability Action Group, Age UK,
Enfield’s Over 50’s Forum and Wheels for Wellbeing.

 

5.    Lastly, can you tell me who, i) within the cycling division of TfL,
and ii) within TfL overall, has overall responsibility for, and oversight
of, equalities issues and in particular your responsibilities under the
General Equality Duty and the Equality Act.

 

No one individual has sole responsibility within TfL for compliance with
equalities obligations. It is the responsibility of every decision maker
and officer involved in developing and implementing each individual
project to have regard to the public sector equality duty.

 

The sponsor for the whole Mini-Holland Programme is Sam Monck, Head of
Borough Projects and Programmes.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to
contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

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