Equality Act obligations in your Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing policy

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridge City Council

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Cambridge City Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Cambridge City Council,

Section 15.7 of your Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/defau... is as follows:

"The Equality Act 2010 places certain duties on licensed drivers to provide assistance to people in wheelchairs and to carry them safely. There are similar requirements on drivers in relation to the treatment of passengers with an assistance dog. Neither drivers nor operators of licensed vehicles can make any extra charge or refuse to carry such passengers."

Section 15.10 is as follows:

"It is important that vehicle drivers, proprietors and operators ensure that licensed drivers carry all passengers in safety and comfort, and that they do not allow wheelchair passengers to travel sideways in their wheelchair. Therefore" (sic)

The bits of the above that aren't to do with assistance dogs are clearly taken from S165 of the Equality Act 2010, which includes the following:

"This section imposes duties on the driver of a designated taxi which has been hired by or for a disabled person who is in a wheelchair ...

"(4) The duties are—
(a) to carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
(b) not to make any additional charge for doing so;
(c) if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
(d) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
(e) to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required."

However:

1) The Council's taxi policy is dated October 2016. S165 of the Equality Act was not commenced until 6th April 2017. Therefore no taxi drivers were subject to that obligation.

2) After telling drivers they would be subject to the legislation (in the March taxi licensing newsletter), you now admit that this is incorrect as you have chosen not to undertake the officework required to make S165 of the Equality Act have effect in your borough.
You have therefore stated that you will publish a correction. See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l... .

There has evidently been a change of policy here.

The Department for Transport's statutory guidance, to which all local authorities must have due regard, at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy... states:

"3.1 Section 167 of the Act permits, but does not require, LAs to maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs.

"3.2 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."

Cambridge City Council were evidently initially intending to follow this good practice. Their Taxi Licensing Policy of October 2016 (still extant) assumes that section 165 already applies. They wrote to all taxi drivers in March 2017 stating that drivers would be subject to the new duties. Yet Cambridge City Council have now stated that they do not intend to produce a S167 list and that S165 will not apply; and they are retracting their communication to drivers that they are subject to the new duties.

Please provide me all recorded information that documents the decision to effect this change this policy, and the process by which the decision was reached. Please identify which councillors and council officials made this change, what their responsibilities and powers are and what experience they have in this area. Please provide all recorded information to indicate whether and how this decision was subject to democratic and accountability oversight; for example, which Councillor committees were consulted or informed.

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Cambridge City Council

1 Attachment

 

Dear Doug Paulley,

RFI: 481   Section 15.7 of your Hackney Carriage and Private ...

Thank you for your request for information. Your request below will be
forwarded to the appropriate department to answer.
 

We aim to respond to your request as soon as possible and within 20
working days. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact us.

Yours sincerely

Information Management Team

3C Shared Services

Telephone: 01954 713318 & 01480 388850
Email:
For South Cambridgeshire DC - [email address]
For Cambridge City Council -[Cambridge City Council request email]
For Huntingdonshire DC - [email address]

 

3C Shared Services is a strategic partnership between Cambridge City
Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire
District Council

Appeals Process

The Council is committed to transparency and openness, and it is our
intention to comply fully with the laws that govern access to information.
If you have any cause to believe that the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 are not being met by us, please let us know in the
first instance. If you are still dissatisfied you can address your
complaint to the Information Governance Manager, who will undertake an
Internal Review of your case. Further to this you have the subsequent
option to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Copyright

Provision of this information does not automatically infer the right to
copy publish or alter the information. In most cases the Council will own
the copyright of the information provided here, or the information will be
provided under the Open Government Licence (OGL), but the rights to some
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required. Please contact us for advice.

Cambridge City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Doug Paulley,

Re: Request for Information (RFI: 481)  [CCC] Section 15.7 of your Hackney Carriage and Pr...

Section 15.7 of your Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy at
https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/defau... is as follows:

"The Equality Act 2010 places certain duties on licensed drivers to provide assistance to people in wheelchairs and to carry them safely. There
are similar requirements on drivers in relation to the treatment of passengers with an assistance dog. Neither drivers nor operators of licensed
vehicles can make any extra charge or refuse to carry such passengers."

Section 15.10 is as follows:

"It is important that vehicle drivers, proprietors and operators ensure that licensed drivers carry all passengers in safety and comfort, and
that they do not allow wheelchair passengers to travel sideways in their wheelchair. Therefore" (sic)

The bits of the above that aren't to do with assistance dogs are clearly taken from S165 of the Equality Act 2010, which includes the following:

"This section imposes duties on the driver of a designated taxi which has been hired by or for a disabled person who is in a wheelchair ...

"(4) The duties are—
(a) to carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
(b) not to make any additional charge for doing so;
(c) if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
(d) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
(e) to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required."

However:

1) The Council's taxi policy is dated October 2016. S165 of the Equality Act was not commenced until 6th April 2017. Therefore no taxi drivers
were subject to that obligation.

2) After telling drivers they would be subject to the legislation (in the March taxi licensing newsletter), you now admit that this is incorrect
as you have chosen not to undertake the officework required to make S165 of the Equality Act have effect in your borough.
You have therefore stated that you will publish a correction. See
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l... .

There has evidently been a change of policy here.

The Department for Transport's statutory guidance, to which all local authorities must have due regard, at
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...
states:

"3.1 Section 167 of the Act permits, but does not require, LAs to maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs.

"3.2 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."

Cambridge City Council were evidently initially intending to follow this good practice. Their Taxi Licensing Policy of October 2016 (still
extant) assumes that section 165 already applies. They wrote to all taxi drivers in March 2017 stating that drivers would be subject to the new
duties. Yet Cambridge City Council have now stated that they do not intend to produce a S167 list and that S165 will not apply; and they are
retracting their communication to drivers that they are subject to the new duties.

Please provide me all recorded information that documents the decision to effect this change this policy, and the process by which the decision
was reached. Please identify which councillors and council officials made this change, what their responsibilities and powers are and what
experience they have in this area. Please provide all recorded information to indicate whether and how this decision was subject to democratic
and accountability oversight; for example, which Councillor committees were consulted or informed.
Thank you for your request for information above, which we have dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I hope the following will answer your query:

Q1 – I can confirm there has been no change in policy and as such we hold no such records
Q2 - I can confirm there has been no change in policy and as such we hold no such records
Q3 - I can confirm there has been no change in policy and as such we hold no such records

Please however note that your questions appear to relate to an assumption that the policy was changed. I can confirm that no such change has
occurred. The situation regarding how we enforce standards in relation to accessibility and assistance for all using vehicles is as follows:

We use our taxi policy as the basis your any action needed. Section 15.7 refers to 'neither drivers nor operators of licensed vehicles can make
any extra charge or refuse to carry such passengers'. In the 'Taxi Handbook' this is also repeated on page 49. We currently would treat any
cases as a breach of policy and look at them in that way. This amendment to the policy was made over 10 years ago.

In reference to the Equality Act 2010, Sections 165-167. This provides a legal requirement regarding taxis and allows Council's to have an
optional list of accessible vehicles. To date we have not kept a list, but we can still take action under our policy.

We aim to provide a high quality service to you and hope that you are satisfied with this response. If you have any further questions please do
not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Information Management Team

3C Shared Services

Telephone: 01954 713318 & 01480 388850

Email:

For South Cambridgeshire DC - [email address]

For Cambridge City Council -[Cambridge City Council request email]

For Huntingdonshire DC - [email address]

3C Shared Services is a strategic partnership between Cambridge City
Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire
District Council

Appeals Process

The Council is committed to transparency and openness, and it is our
intention to comply fully with the laws that govern access to information.
If you have any cause to believe that the terms of the FOI Act or EIR
Regulations are not being met by us, please let us know in the first
instance. If you are still dissatisfied you can address your complaint to
the Information Governance Manager who will undertake an Internal Review
of your case. Internal review requests should be submitted within two
months of the date of receipt of the response to your original request.
Further to this you have the subsequent option to contact the Information
Commissioner's Office.

Copyright

Provision of this information does not automatically infer the right to
copy publish or alter the information. In most cases the Council will own
the copyright of the information provided here, or the information will be
provided under the Open Government Licence (OGL), but the rights to some
information may belong to a third party and if so a re- use licence may be
required. Please contact us for advice.