Inclusion and Reasonable Adjustment Policy for Disable Councillors. Equalities Act 2010

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Scarborough Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Ge off Pickering

Dear Scarborough Borough Council,

Councils are required by the Equality Act 2010 to make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate the needs of disabled councillors, who would otherwise be placed at a disadvantage compared to a non-disabled councillors. It is an “anticipatory duty” meaning that councils must think in advance about the needs of disabled people and make reasonable adjustments.

The Government website states as defined under the Equalities Act:
"A mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on your normal day-to-day activity."

A condition is "long term" if it lasts, or is likely to last, 12 months:

"Normal day-to-day activity" is defined as something you do regularly in a normal day. This includes things like using a computer, working set times or interacting with people."

Therefore Scarborough Borough Council has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustment to accommodate elected Members with disability including long term mental health conditions and as this is an anticipatory duty must have already considered and have in place adjustments necessary to meet their needs.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

(1) When was this duty last considered by Scarborough Borough Council?

(2) What "reasonable adjustments" have been set in place to meet the needs of disabled Councillors, including those with long term mental health conditions?

(3) How are such needs assessed, and who by whom, and with what credentials?

(4) Which Officer/council body is responsible for ensuring that the Council fulfils its "anticipatory duty" in relation to its obligations to disabled Councillors?

(5) What is the procedure of monitoring, reporting and providing redress should the Council fail in its legal duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for disability arising from disability including long term mental health conditions ?

(6) Which Officer is responsible for implementing remedial action where this duty is not met, or falls short?

(7) What is the Council's procedure/sanction should the Council, a Council Employee or any agent of the Council discriminate against a Member with a disability including those arising from a long term mental health condition?

(8) Does the disbarment of a disabled Members from entering Council premises and/or speaking, emailing or telephoning Council staff constitute "reasonable adjustments" under the terms of the Council's Equalities / Inclusion Policies/Protocol, and, if so, please provide the Council's rationale/decision-process along with a copy of /link to the relevant policies?

Yours faithfully,

Geoff Pickering

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Pickering

 

Email Address: [FOI #489784 email]

FOI Request Reference: FOIA5856 - Reasonable Adjustment Policy for
Disabled Councillors

Thank you for your written communication of 07/06/2018

Your request has been referred to the responsible officer and a response
should be made within the statutory timeframe of 20 working days from the
date of receipt.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be
required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.

Please ensure that any further communication in relation to this matter is
sent by you to the Freedom of Information Officer at the below address
quoting the reference FOIA5856 in all communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Freedom of Information Officer

Legal and Democratic Services

Scarborough Borough Council

e:  [1][Scarborough Borough Council request email]

t: 01723 232323

f: 0870 2384159

w:  [2]www.scarborough.gov.uk

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Pickering

 

Thank you for your request for information which has been dealt with under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Request

 

You requested the following information:

 

Councils are required by the Equality Act 2010 to make “reasonable
adjustments” to accommodate the needs of disabled councillors, who would
otherwise be placed at a disadvantage compared to a non-disabled
councillors. It is an “anticipatory duty” meaning that councils must think
in advance about the needs of disabled people and make reasonable
adjustments.

 

The Government website states as defined under the Equalities Act:

"A mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a
long-term effect on your normal day-to-day activity."

 

A condition is "long term" if it lasts, or is likely to last, 12 months:

 

"Normal day-to-day activity" is defined as something you do regularly in a
normal day. This includes things like using a computer, working set times
or interacting with people."

 

Therefore Scarborough Borough Council has a legal duty to make reasonable
adjustment to accommodate elected Members with disability including long
term mental health conditions and as this is an anticipatory duty must
have already considered and have in place adjustments necessary to meet
their needs.

 

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

 

(1) When was this duty last considered by Scarborough Borough Council?

 

(2) What "reasonable adjustments" have been set in place to meet the needs
of disabled Councillors, including those with long term mental health
conditions?

 

(3) How are such needs assessed, and who by whom, and with what
credentials?

 

(4) Which Officer/council body is responsible for ensuring that the
Council fulfils its "anticipatory duty" in relation to its obligations to
disabled Councillors?

 

(5) What is the procedure of monitoring, reporting and providing redress
should the Council fail in its legal duty to make "reasonable adjustments"
for disability arising from disability including long term mental health
conditions ?

 

(6) Which Officer is responsible for implementing remedial action where
this duty is not met, or falls short?

 

(7) What is the Council's procedure/sanction should the Council, a Council
Employee or any agent of the Council discriminate against a Member with a
disability including those arising from a long term mental health
condition?

 

(8) Does the disbarment of a disabled Members from entering Council
premises and/or speaking, emailing or telephoning Council staff constitute
"reasonable adjustments" under the terms of the Council's Equalities /
Inclusion Policies/Protocol, and, if so, please provide the Council's
rationale/decision-process along with a copy of /link to the relevant
policies?

 

Response

 

The Council has a range of equalities information available publicly on
its website which is relevant to your request:

 

·         The Council's Corporate Equalities Scheme 2015-2020:
[1]https://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/doc...

·         A list of the impact assessments that the Council has completed:
[2]https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/home/comm...

·         Details regarding the Council's Annual Equalities Reports:
[3]https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/home/comm...

 

With reference to question 8 of your request, the implementation of
measures to restrict a Councillor's access to Council premises and its
Officers would not fall within the definition of a reasonable adjustment
in relation to that Councillor.

 

The duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to the carrying out of
official business by Members is contained in section 20 of the Equality
Act 2010 ('the Act'), which stipulates what that duty entails, and what
requirements apply. Section 20 of the Act sets out three requirements that
form the duty in question. They provide that where a provision, criterion
or practice; a physical feature; or lack of an auxiliary aid puts a
disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant
matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, the Council must
take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the
disadvantage.

 

This is an ongoing duty and as such the Council keeps this under review.
This is evidenced by the information available via the above linked
documents.

 

The 'anticipatory' duty is not absolute, by which it is meant that the
Council is not required to assess and anticipate every possible adjustment
it may be required to make, no matter how remote the need for such an
adjustment. Paragraph 20(1)(b) of Schedule 8 of the Act provides that the
Council is not subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments if it does
not know, and could not reasonably be expected to know that an interested
disabled person has a disability and is likely to be placed at the
disadvantage referred to in the first, second or third requirement of the
aforementioned duty.

 

You may also be interested in the Equality Commission Statutory Code of
Practice:

 

[4]https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/site...

 

The Council as a whole is responsible for ensuring compliance with the
duties applicable under the Act, and has set out its strategy and plans
for doing so, again in the above linked documents. The Action Plan
2015-2020 provides a list of objectives and states clearly who within the
Council is responsible for the delivery of those objectives. These
objectives and the Council's duties are managed through performance
monitoring reported (usually) on a quarterly basis.

 

As for adjustments already in place to assist Councillors with a
disability, the Council carries out assessments based on individual need. 
Any information relating to individual Councillors is considered personal
data under the Data Protection Act and is therefore exempt from
disclosure. 

 

Review

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to Freedom of Information, Scarborough Borough Council,
Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2HG or
email [5][Scarborough Borough Council request email].

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
Information Commissioner’s Office cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by Scarborough Borough
Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF | Tel: 01625 545745 | Fax: 01625 524510 | Web: [6]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Freedom of Information

Scarborough Borough Council

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/doc...
2. https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/home/comm...
3. https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/home/comm...
4. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/site...
5. mailto:[Scarborough Borough Council request email]
6. http://www.ico.org.uk/
7. http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/gdpr

Ge off Pickering

Dear FOI,
Thank you so much for your useful and informative response. I have now had the opportunity to read the information linked to your response and can find no specific mention, policy, provision for Councillors or for mental health.
I may have missed this information so could you please clarify the exact references for this information.

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Pickering

Michelle Donohue-Moncreiff left an annotation ()

Somewhat shocking that SBC don’t bother to answer such an important question from a member of the public. It is a simple question that should be easily provided by officers.

Dear Scarborough Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Scarborough Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Inclusion and Reasonable Adjustment Policy for Disable Councillors. Equalities Act

You provided a series of general links to numerous extensive documents which did not appear to provide access to the information requested.
I responded by asking for the specific links and have not recieved a response.
The law in this matter is quite clear where a request for information is requested the Council must provide the link to the actual data or identify the sort of the document which is relivent and not simply to a general document.
I therfore ask you to provide the exact references to information requested either by identifying the relivent clauses within the document or by providing the information as an abstract.

I would also like an explaination as to why you have chosen to ignore my request and this requiring me to ask for a review.

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,

Geoff Pickering

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Pickering

I acknowledge receipt of your email which has been logged and referred to one of our Solicitors to conduct the internal review.

Yours Sincerely

Freedom of Information Officer
Legal and Democratic Services
Scarborough Borough Council
e:  [Scarborough Borough Council request email]
t: 01723 232323
f: 0870 2384159
w:  www.scarborough.gov.uk

show quoted sections

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Pickering

 

Please find attached a response to internal review of Freedom of
Information Request FOIA 5856.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Freedom of Information Officer

Legal and Democratic Services

Scarborough Borough Council

e:  [1][Scarborough Borough Council request email]

t: 01723 232323

f: 0870 2384159

w:  [2]www.scarborough.gov.uk

 

 

DISCLAIMER
This email (and any files transmitted with it) may contain confidential or privileged information and is intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken is prohibited and may be unlawful - you should therefore return the email to the sender and delete it from your system.
For information about how we process data please see our Privacy Notice at [3]www.scarborough.gov.uk/gdpr
Any opinions expressed are those of the author of the email, and do not necessarily reflect those of Scarborough Borough Council.
Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic communications.
This email has been checked for the presence of computer viruses, but please rely on your own virus-checking procedures.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Scarborough Borough Council request email]
2. http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/
3. http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/gdpr