S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - C no fixed previous date

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar as part of a batch sent to 54 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 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,

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 a similar request to you in April 2017. 6+ months later, I am repeating the request with some variations. I am repeating because the Statutory Guidance states "We would expect these arrangements to take no more than a maximum of six months to put in place, following the commencement of these provisions" - "these provisions" having been commenced on 6th April.

In response to my previous FOI request on similar matters in April 2017, you indicated that you did not have a Section 167 list but were intending to create such a list, though you didn’t provide a date by which you hoped the list would be in place.

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 have changed your position since April, such that you do now 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 you do now have such a list, please provide information in response to the following questions 2a) to 2j):
2a) On what date was it put in place?
2b) 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?

2c) 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?

2d) 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?

2e) 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?

2f) 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?

2g) 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.

2h) 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?

2i) 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?

2j) 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) If you do not have a S167 list or lists now, please indicate if you still intend to produce such a list.

4) If you don't have a S167 list but do intend to produce one, please provide information in response to questions 4a) and 4b) below.
4a) Please indicate when you intend to have the list in place.
4b) Where you have already made relevant decisions, please indicate whether you intend to comply with the elements of the statutory guidance set out in 2b) to 2f) above.

5) Irrespective of whether you have created a list or not or indeed whether you intend to create such a list, 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."

5a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

5b) 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?

5c) 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?

5d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption under S166.

5e) 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?

5f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were successful?

6) 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?

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

CNES FOI Team, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Dear Doug Paulley

I write to acknowledge receipt of your request for information and note
the terms of your request as detailed below.  We've automatically assigned
this request an reference of 2017110427000015.  Please use this reference
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--
Le durachd,
Freedom of Information Team
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar | Sandwick Road | Stornoway | Isle of Lewis |
HS1 2BQ
Web: [1]www.cne-siar.gov.uk
Tel: 0845 600 70 90 (Extension 211222)

CNES FOI Team, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Dear Mr Paulley,

Re: help desk request (ticket ref 2017110427000015)
Thank you for your recent request submitted under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Please see the information requested
below and attached.

In response to my previous FOI request on similar matters in April 2017,
you indicated that you did not have a Section 167 list but were intending
to create such a list, though you didn’t provide a date by which you hoped
the list would be in place.
List is attached.

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 have changed your
position since April, such that you do now 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

2) If you do now have such a list, please provide information in response
to the
following questions 2a) to 2j):
2a) On what date was it put in place?
01 October 2017

2b) 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

2c) 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?
Yes
 
Is it marked "designated for the purposes of Section165 of the Act"?
Yes
 
Is the make and model of each vehicle listed?
Yes
 
Is each vehicle identified as a taxi or a private hire vehicle? 
Yes
 
Is the name of the operator of each vehicle given in the list? 
Yes
 
Have you made owners and drivers of vehicles on the list aware that their
vehicle has been listed?
Yes

2d) 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 ofwheelchair that can be accommodated, and whether
wheelchairs larger than a "reference wheelchair" can be accommodated?
Not currently

2e) 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

2f) 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?
Not yet, but we will do in future

2g) 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.
No applications made

2h) 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

2i) 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?
None

2j) 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?
None

3) If you do not have a S167 list or lists now, please indicate if you
still intend to produce such a list.
N/a

4) If you don't have a S167 list but do intend to produce one, please
provide information in response to questions 4a) and 4b) below.

4a) Please indicate when you intend to have the list in place.
N/a
 
4b) Where you have already made relevant decisions, please indicate
whether you intend to comply with the elements of the statutory guidance
set out in 2b) to 2f) above.
 N/a

5) Irrespective of whether you have created a list or not or indeed
whether you intend to create such a list, 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."

5a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act
2010?
None

5b) 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?
Has not applied so far so have not required this yet.

5c) 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?
Has not applied so far so have not required this yet.

5d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under S166.
 Cover letter and exemption form attached.

5e) 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?
No appeals so far

5f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were
successful?
N/a

6) 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?
Attached.
 
If you are dissatisfied with this response you can request the Comhairle
to review this response to your request for information.  You have 40
working days from the date of receipt of this response in which to lodge
this request for review.  A request for review must be processed in
accordance with Part 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002,
must be in writing, describe your original request and explain why you are
dissatisfied.  An application for review should be sent to the Chief
Executive, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Council Offices, Sandwick Road,
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2BW ([1][email address]).  A request
for review lodged with the Chief Executive must be processed promptly and
in any event within 20 working days of receipt.
 
Should you remain dissatisfied after completion of the review process you
may, within 6 months, apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner,
Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS, to establish
whether your request for information has been processed in accordance with
Part 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  You may also
request an appeal through the Commissioner's online appeal service which
is available 24/7 and offers requesters real time help and advice about
their appeal - [2]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal Should you remain
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Information Commissioner you have the right to appeal to the Court of
Session on a point of law.

--
Kind regards
Rebecca Macleod - CE

FOI Team
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar | Sandwick Road | Stornoway | Isle of Lewis |
HS1 2BW
Email: [Comhairle nan Eilean Siar request email]
Web: [3]http://www..cne-siar.gov.uk
Tel: 0845 600 70 90 (Extension 211222)

04/11/2017 19:30 - Doug Paulley wrote:
Dear Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,

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
[4]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 a similar request to you in April 2017. 6+ months
later, I
am repeating the request with some variations. I am repeating because the
Statutory Guidance states "We would expect these arrangements to take no
more than
a maximum of six months to put in place, following the commencement of
these
provisions" - "these provisions" having been commenced on 6th April.

In response to my previous FOI request on similar matters in April 2017,
you
indicated that you did not have a Section 167 list but were intending to
create
such a list, though you didn’t provide a date by which you hoped the list
would be
in place.

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 have changed your position since
April, such
that you do now 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 you do now have such a list, please provide information in response
to the
following questions 2a) to 2j):
2a) On what date was it put in place?
2b) 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?

2c) 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?

2d) 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?

2e) 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?

2f) 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?

2g) 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.

2h) 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?

2i) 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?

2j) 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) If you do not have a S167 list or lists now, please indicate if you
still
intend to produce such a list.

4) If you don't have a S167 list but do intend to produce one, please
provide
information in response to questions 4a) and 4b) below.
4a) Please indicate when you intend to have the list in place.
4b) Where you have already made relevant decisions, please indicate
whether you
intend to comply with the elements of the statutory guidance set out in
2b) to 2f)
above.

5) Irrespective of whether you have created a list or not or indeed
whether you
intend to create such a list, 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."

5a) How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act
2010?

5b) 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?

5c) 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?

5d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under
S166.

5e) 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?

5f) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were
successful?

6) 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?

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

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CNES FOI Team, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

4 Attachments

Now attached. 
--
Kind regards
Rebecca Macleod - CE

FOI Team
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar | Sandwick Road | Stornoway | Isle of Lewis |
HS1 2BW
Email: [Comhairle nan Eilean Siar request email]
Web: [1]http://www..cne-siar.gov.uk
Tel: 0845 600 70 90 (Extension 211222)

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