Implementation of S167 lists of taxis - Previously A

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Chiltern District Council as part of a batch sent to 107 authorities

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

The request was successful.

Dear Chiltern District 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 had implemented 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 still have 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 so, please provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2i):
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) 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."

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?

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Sarah Helm,

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 03/05/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Doug Paulley
Our Ref: FOI 16859
 
   
   
Dear Sir / Madam

Thank you for your email requesting information under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a ‘right of access’ to
recorded information.

This is to acknowledge receipt of your valid request. A guide to
information that is held is contained in the Chiltern District Council
Publication Scheme via the following link

[2]http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/FOIpublicatio...

The Council will send you a response to your request in due course.

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

Visible links
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Chiltern District Council

1 Attachment

King George V House, King George V Road
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5AW
Email: [1][email address]
www.chiltern.gov.uk
 
 

CHILTERN AND SOUTH BUCKS DISTRICT COUNCILS
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   
Date: 09/05/2018
e-mail:
For the attention of: Doug Paulley
Our Ref: FOI 16859
 
   
   
Dear Sir,

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Further to our acknowledgement to your email requesting information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we are providing
you with our response.

REQUEST

Freedom of Information request - Implementation of S167 lists oftaxis - Previously A Dear Chiltern District 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 had implemented 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
still have 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 so, please provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2i): 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) 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." 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? Yours faithfully, Doug Paulley

RESPONSE

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 still have 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?
Yes, the list is available on the Council’s website.

2) If so, please provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2i):

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?  Yes.

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?  Yes to all of the above.

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?  No.

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? Yes.

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?  Our conditions and requirements 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.  None made.

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?  None.

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?  No information held.

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?  N/A.

3) 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."

3a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?  None.

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?  Yes.

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?
No, driver’s own GP is required.

3d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption under S166.
Available via the Council’s website www.chiltern.gov.uk/taxi

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?  None.

3f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were successful? None.

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?  No.

We hope this answers your questions, but if not, you can contact us (details below) with your query quoting the FOI number at the top of this
page. You can also seek an internal review of your request if you remain unhappy with the outcome. Ultimately you can complain to the
Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF should you remain dissatisfied, having exhausted the
authority's internal review procedures. If you would like more information about the role and work of the Information Commissioner go to the
website [2]www.ico.gov.uk

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
CHILTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL
[3][email address]

References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cDo...
3. mailto:[email address]