Lists of Accessible Taxis under S167 Equality Act 2010

The request was successful.

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

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

2) Please identify how many a) taxi and b) PHV drivers have applied for medical / physical impairment exemption under S166 of the Equality Act 2010 since S166 was commenced. If you've created a list under S167, please identify how many of the exemptions were in place before S167 and how many have been put in since.

3) Please state whether you voluntarily compiled a list of accessible taxis and private hire vehicles following the Department for Transport's guidance of 15th September 2010, which stated, in relation to section 167, “although the list of designated vehicles will have no actual effect in law until the duties are commenced, we would urge licensing authorities to start maintaining a list as soon as possible for the purpose of liaising with the trade and issuing exemption certificates”. If you did produce such a voluntary list, please indicate when you did so, and provide the current list.

If you have produced a list of wheelchair accessible taxis and/or private hire vehicles under S167, or are going to, please tell me the following.

4) The date the list was instated or by which you intend to do so.

5) The accessibility requirements of a taxi for it to appear on the list.

6) How you intend to enforce drivers' compliance with S165.

7) The list.

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the FOI Office for response.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Ceri Stephens, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

Ref FOI 101003122019 - Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your request for information, dated 19th April 2017 received in our office on 20th April 2017 (details below):

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Council has a duty to respond ‘promptly’ or no later than 20 working days, which in this case is 19th May 2017.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me as detailed, quoting the above reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Ceri Stephens
Performance Officer
Resources
Swindon Borough Council
Tel: 01793 466220
e-mail: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Ceri Stephens,

Where is the response to my FOI request please? Over 20 working days has passed.

cheers

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Ceri Stephens, Swindon Borough Council

I am currently out of the office until Monday 22nd May 2017 at 9am. If the
matter is urgent or an FOI Request please contact Sharon Druett
[email address] Tel: 01793 463377 (for FOI) or Customer Services
e-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]. or Tel: 01793 445500 for allother
enquiries. Otherwise, I will deal with your enquiry on my return.

 

The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily
reflect those of Swindon Borough Council unless explicitly stated
otherwise. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify me
immediately. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you
should not copy it for any purpose, or disclose its contents to any other
person. Senders and recipients of email should be aware that, under the
Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000, the contents
may have to be disclosed. The contents may be subject to recording and/or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation This footnote also
confirms that this email has been swept by Anti-Virus software for the
presence of computer viruses. However, Swindon Borough Council cannot
accept liability for viruses that may be in this email and we recommend
that you check all emails with an appropriate virus scanner.
....

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

This Freedom of Information Request was sent on 19th April. It's therefore considerably late. I am aware that the Information Commissioner's Office has instructed you to respond to it by the 16th June. Please respond to it at your earliest convenience. It will save you time and work in the long run because I will enforce my right of access to the fullest extent under the law.

What is happening with it please?

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

 

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

Re: FOI101003122019 Freedom of Information Request

 

Firstly, may I apologise for the delay in responding to your request,
which is the result of unexpected staff shortages, but I would like to
stress that the Council takes its statutory responsibilities under the Act
very seriously.

 

Please find the response to the following questions:

 

1) Please advise if you have produced, or currently intend to produce, a
list of wheelchair accessible:

a) Taxis

and

b) Private hire vehicles

under the powers set out in S167 of the Equality Act 2010

 

Response: The Licensing Authority does not hold a specific list of
wheelchair accessible vehicles although there is a public register of all
vehicles available on request and is held in hard copy.

 

2) Please identify how many a) taxi and b) PHV drivers have applied for
medical / physical impairment exemption under S166 of the Equality Act
2010 since S166 was commenced. If you've created a list under S167, please
identify how many of the exemptions were in place before S167 and how many
have been put in since.

 

Response: There are 4 drivers under Section 167 and 0 drivers under
Section 166, All the exemptions are Hackney Carriage drivers

 

 

3) Please state whether you voluntarily compiled a list of accessible
taxis and private hire vehicles following the Department for Transport's
guidance of 15th September 2010, which stated, in relation to section 167,
“although the list of designated vehicles will have no actual effect in
law until the duties are commenced, we would urge licensing authorities to
start maintaining a list as soon as possible for the purpose of liaising
with the trade and issuing exemption certificates”. If you did produce
such a voluntary list, please indicate when you did so, and provide the
current list.

 

Response : As Question 1 above. However despite the public register the
Licensing Service is currently reviewing the software system and will
produce a list to be available for wheelchair accessible vehicles in the
future.

 

If you have produced a list of wheelchair accessible taxis and/or private
hire vehicles under S167, or are going to, please tell me the following.

 

4)  The date the list was instated or by which you intend to do so.

 

Response: As question 1 and 3.

 

5) The accessibility requirements of a taxi for it to appear on the list.

 

Response: There is no specific list, however, the only vehicles that can
be licensed a hackney carriages must be wheelchair accessible and this has
been in place since 2008. We allow 4 types of hackney carriage wheelchair
accessible vehicles and do not allow rear loading vehicles. There are some
saloon vehicles that are hackney carriages but these benefit from
‘grandfather rights’.

 

6) How you intend to enforce drivers' compliance with S165.

 

Response: They are enforced through regulations and Council guidelines.
There are random and regular inspections of vehicles.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review you should contact:

 

Customer Services

Civic Offices

Euclid Street

Swindon

Website: www.[Swindon Borough Council request email]

 

The complaints/review procedure involves a full review by the Council's
Monitoring Officer. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of our conclusion, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision before
contacting the Council. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the Council's own complaints procedure.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at :

 

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

If you require any further information, or I can be of any further
assistance, please get back to me quoting the above reference number in
any future correspondence.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Sharon Druett

 

 

Sharon Druett ([email address])

Freedom of Information Officer

Law and Democratic Services

Swindon Borough Council

Tel: 01793 463377

Fax: 01793 463405

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Swindon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Lists of Accessible Taxis under S167 Equality Act 2010'.

I asked:

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

Your response - "The Licensing Authority does not hold a specific list of wheelchair accessible vehicles although there is a public register of all vehicles available on request and is held in hard copy." - doesn't provide the information I am asking.

The DFT's statutory guidance - distributed in February and to which licensing bodies are legally obliged to pay due regard - has this to say about S167: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

"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."

Do you have a list clearly marked "designated for the purposes of section 165 of the Act", is it published, does it solely list wheelchair accessible vehicles and does include the make, model, license type (taxi or PHV) and the name of the operator? If you do then you have a S167 list. If you don't then you don't have such a list. If you intend to have a list in compliance with S167 (as is strongly recommended by the DFT, with an implementation date by September 2017) then you intend to have such a list. If you haven't got any stated intention to implement such a list, then you don't currently have a current intention to implement such a list.

I don't get what's so difficult about that. I certainly don't understand why, 7 weeks after my FOI request, over 2 months after S167 was commenced and over 4 months after the DFT's statutory guidance on the issue, you have misinterpreted my FOI request and failed to answer this most simple and basic of requests for information.

Do you, or do you not, have a S167 list? Do you, or do you not, currently intend to produce a S167 list?

Why have you not responded to my request on this matter? Why have you failed to understand it? Have you failed in your legal obligation to have due regard to the DFT's statutory guidance on it?

I am incensed at your dilatory and inaccurate response to my FOI request. Of the 348 taxi licensing bodies to whom I have sent FOI requests, your response takes the biscuit as being the least satisfactory. Please pull your finger out, read my FOI request properly, read up on S167 and your obligations, and respond properly.

Your response to Q2 "There are 4 drivers under Section 167 and 0 drivers under Section 166" doesn't make sense given that you haven't implemented S167.

Your response to Q4, about timelines for creation of a S167 list, does not make sense.

Your response to "How you intend to enforce drivers' compliance with S165" includes:

"They are enforced through regulations and Council guidelines."

That doesn't make sense. Have you actually any knowledge of S165? You haven't engaged with my request and your responce indicates very clearly that you don't know what S165 entails.

Firstly, S165 only comes into effect if and when you create a S167 list of accessible taxis. Given you haven't created such a list, your statement that you are currently enforcing S165 makes no sense, because you are stating that you are enforcing a law that doesn't have any force in your council's area (because you haven't undertaken the necessary administrative tasks to bring it into force.) So the information you provided is clearly nonsense.

You also gave as one of your enforcement mechanisms of S165:

"There are random and regular inspections of vehicles."

What? Have you actually read S165?

Here's what S165 says:

"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."

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must carry wheelchair using passengers in their wheelchair.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must not charge wheelchair users extra compared to non-wheelchair users or wheelchair users who transfer to a seat.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must carry a disabled person's wheelchair.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must take such steps as are necessary to ensure that wheelchair users are carried in safety and in reasonable comfort.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must give wheelchair users such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

I ask this as, quite frankly, I don't see how "random and regular inspections of vehicles" can possibly enforce the above obligations of S165, which is not concerned with the accessibility or otherwise of the physical fabric of taxis but with the behaviour of the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible taxis / PHVs.

It's not good enough. Please look at your entire handling of my FOI request and provide the information I actually requested, "promptly", otherwise I shall have no alternative but to seek further recourse through the ICO.

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to The Freedom of Information Officer for response.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    FW Freedom of Information request Lists of Accessible Taxis under S167 Equality Act 2010 FOI 101003122019.html

    19K Download

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

Ref FOI Freedom of Information Request Complaint  Internal Review FOI
101003163218 in response to Request FOI101003122019

 

I acknowledge the receipt of your email dated 10^th June, 2017, received
in our office on 12th June, 2017, requesting a review.

The complaints / review procedure, will involve a full review of all the
points you have raised by the Council’s Monitoring Officer, Stephen
Taylor, Director of Law and Democratic Services.  We aim to complete
reviews, depending on their complexity, no later than 20 working days,
which in this case is 10^th July,2017.

If you are not content with the conclusions, and we do not provide the
answers to your satisfaction, you may refer the matter to the Information
Commissioner’s Office.

 

You may decide to apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office
before we have completed our investigation. Generally, the ICO cannot make
a decision unless you have exhausted the Council's own complaints
procedure first.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Email: [email address]

Tel: 01625 545700 (ask for Freedom of Information)

 

If you require any further information concerning this matter, please
contact me as detailed, quoting the above reference number in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sharon Druett

 

 

Sharon Druett ([email address])

Freedom of Information Officer

Law and Democratic Services

Swindon Borough Council

Tel: 01793 463377

Fax: 01793 463405

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Swindon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Lists of Accessible Taxis under S167 Equality Act 2010'.

I requested an internal review of this request, some time ago. Please can you tell me what is happening with my request for an internal review? I want to complete my research. Thank you.

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

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the relevant department for them to respond to you directly.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Sharon Druett,

Please indicate what is happening with my request for internal review?

I made my request for internal review on 10th June. Here's what the ICO has to say about the time taken to respond to internal reviews.

"The spirit of the Code is that internal reviews should be completed as soon as possible. For example:
• a complaints procedure should be designed to allow prompt determination of complaints (para 39)
• target times should be set for dealing with complaints (para 42).
• the code also recommends that the target times are reviewed regularly and that each authority should publish them together with information on its success in meeting those targets.
• there is also an implied recommendation, supported by guidance issued by the Department for Constitutional Affairs, that the complainant should be kept fully informed throughout the review
process.
The Commissioner supports these recommendations and intends, from time to time, to monitor conformity with them.
Some other factors to be noted are as follows:
• FOIA requires a request to be complied with “promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt” which suggests that internal reviews should also be completed promptly."

The ICO has also indicated that they consider that internal reviews should be responded to within 20 working days. It is now 17 working days since I requested the Internal Review. Please can you tell me when you intend to respond to my request for internal review?

Where do you punish your target internal review response times, and your compliance stats with them?

Howcome you haven't kept me informed throughout the review process?

You took far too long to respond to my FOI request. The response when you actually sent it was a disgraceful mess that did not address the subject of my request and demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the subject matter of my request. Now you are taking a substantial time to respond to my request for internal review..

320+ authorities have dealt with my request properly, and those that didn't, responded promptly to my internal review. You are causing me and my research inconvenience, which is not acceptable. So please do not assume you can choose to respond to me on the 20th working day: given you have already broken the law, failed to comply with my information rights and inconvenienced me, please pull your finger out and deal with my internal review before the 20 working day deadline.

In the meantime, give me regular updates as to where you're at with it. For example, when did you send it to your internal officer to investigate? When is his or her deadline? How is their investigation going?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I have requested that the ICO conduct an assessment, in the following terms.

dear ICO,

Please conduct a S50 assessment of Swindon Council's handling of this
request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

There is a previous reference number FS50684118 because Swindon
originally failed to respond to my FOI request until you stepped in.

When they did respond, their response was not adequate in that it did
not provide the information I requested. So I submitted a request for
Internal Review on 10 June 2017.

It's now 8 July 2017, so 20 working days have passed without them
responding to my request for Internal Review.

Please conduct a S50 assessment,

thank you

Doug Paulley

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email; which has been forwarded to the relevant department for them to repond to you directly.

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500
E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Stephen Taylor, Swindon Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Lists of Accessible
Taxis under S167 Equality Act 2010 - FOI 101003163218

 

As requested I have reviewed the response you received in this matter.  As
you were advised by Sharon Druett, on 13th June, 2017, the complaints /
review procedure, involves a full review of all the points you have
raised. There is no fixed timeframe set within the ICO’s advice on how
long reviews should take.  The Council is aware of the codes of practice
and we aim to complete reviews, depending on their complexity, no later
than 20 working days, which in this case is 10th July, 2017.

I am sure you appreciate it is important there is enough time to carry out
a full review and to give it the proper level of attention.  I think it
right to focus on the review rather than spend time in giving regular
updates during the review period.

 

In relation to the review I have carried out, it is clear that although
the answers were intended to be as helpful as possible and give as much
information as possible, this was not what you wanted – you simply wanted
answers to your specific questions.  On that basis, the answers below set
out the current position:

 

Question

"1) Please advise if you have produced, or currently intend to produce, a
list of wheelchair accessible:

a) taxis

and

b) private hire vehicles

under the powers set out in S167 of the Equality Act 2010."

Response:

The Council has not produced a s167 list of such Hackney Carriages or
Private Hire Vehicles.  The Council intends to produce a s167 list of
wheelchair accessible hackney carriage vehicles by September, 2017.       

 

Question

Your response to Q2 "There are 4 drivers under Section 167 and 0 drivers
under Section 166" doesn't make sense given that you haven't implemented
S167.

Response:

We do have a non-statutory list which is the source of the information
provided.

 

Question

Your response to Q4, about timelines for creation of a S167 list, does not
make sense.

Response: I hope the above response has clarified the Council’s position.

 

Question

Your response to "How you intend to enforce drivers' compliance with S165"
includes:

"They are enforced through regulations and Council guidelines."

That doesn't make sense. Have you actually any knowledge of S165? You
haven't engaged with my request and your response indicates very clearly
that you don't know what S165 entails.

Firstly, S165 only comes into effect if and when you create a S167 list of
accessible taxis. Given you haven't created such a list, your statement
that you are currently enforcing S165 makes no sense, because you are
stating that you are enforcing a law that doesn't have any force in your
council's area (because you haven't undertaken the necessary
administrative tasks to bring it into force.) So the information you
provided is clearly nonsense.

You also gave as one of your enforcement mechanisms of S165:

"There are random and regular inspections of vehicles."

What? Have you actually read S165?

Here's what S165 says:

"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."

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR
regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that
designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must carry wheelchair using
passengers in their wheelchair.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR
regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that
designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must not charge wheelchair users
extra compared to non-wheelchair users or wheelchair users who transfer to
a seat.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR
regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that
designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must carry a disabled person's
wheelchair.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR
regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that
designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must take such steps as are
necessary to ensure that wheelchair users are carried in safety and in
reasonable comfort.

Please explain, in detail, how an inspection of a vehicle (random OR
regular) can be used to enforce the requirement that drivers of that
designated wheelchair accessible vehicle must give wheelchair users such
mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

I ask this as, quite frankly, I don't see how "random and regular
inspections of vehicles" can possibly enforce the above obligations of
S165, which is not concerned with the accessibility or otherwise of the
physical fabric of taxis but with the behaviour of the drivers of
designated wheelchair accessible taxis / PHVs.

Response:

The Council is aware of its statutory obligations and inspections are
carried out and the Council have a local policy to ensure drivers
obligations are in place which mirror the section 165 obligations.

 

This concludes the review procedure. If you are not content with the
outcome of our conclusion, you may now apply directly to the Information
Commissioner's Office as we have completed our investigation. Generally,
the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the Council's own
complaints procedure.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Email: [1][email address]

Tel: 01625 545700 (ask for Freedom of Information)

 

If you require any further information concerning this matter, please
contact me as detailed, quoting the above reference number in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Stephen Taylor ([2][email address])

Director of Law & Democratic Services

and Monitoring Officer

Swindon Borough Council

Tel: 01793 463012

Web: www.swindon.gov.uk

 

The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily
reflect those of Swindon Borough Council unless explicitly stated
otherwise. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify me
immediately. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you
should not copy it for any purpose, or disclose its contents to any other
person. Senders and recipients of email should be aware that, under the
Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000, the contents
may have to be disclosed. The contents may be subject to recording and/or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation This footnote also
confirms that this email has been swept by Anti-Virus software for the
presence of computer viruses. However, Swindon Borough Council cannot
accept liability for viruses that may be in this email and we recommend
that you check all emails with an appropriate virus scanner.
....

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