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

The request was successful.

Dear Newport City 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 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

City Contact Centre, Newport City Council

Bore da/Good morning,

Thank you for your request for information. Your request was received on 06/11/2017 and the relevant department is dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You should receive a reply to your request within the statutory time limit of 20 working days.

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.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact us.

For future reference, all Freedom of Information requests can now be submitted via the link below.

www.newport.gov.uk/foi

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on the Telephone number below. Our hours of opening are Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.

Kind regards,

Catherine
Newport City Council Contact Centre
Tel: 01633 656 656
Minicom: 01633 656 657

Visit www.newport.gov.uk
Did you know we offer a range of council services online, easy to use and available 24/7.

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg a Saesneg. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn eich dewis iaith, boed yn Saesneg, yn Gymraeg neu’n ddwyieithog, cyhyd â’n bod yn ymwybodol o’ch dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh. We will communicate with you in the language of your choice, whether that’s English, Welsh or in Bilingual format as long as we know which you prefer. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay.

Newport City Council

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your request for information about :

S167 List of Accessible Taxis

Received on 06/11/2017

This request has been formally logged in our FOI management system and has been assigned the reference REQ05127.
You should receive a reply to your request within the statutory time limit of 20 working days.

Please remember to quote the reference number REQ05127 in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,
Information Management

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay.

Disclaimer/Ymwadiad

This email contains information intended for the addressee only and may be confidential, the subject of legal or professional privilege, or be otherwise protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender immediately and do not disclose, distribute or copy the email to any other party. This email and any attached file are the property of Newport City Council.

When you email Newport City Council, you consent to the Council monitoring and reading any such emails for the purposes of security and legislative compliance. For the full disclaimer please access http://www.newport.gov.uk/disclaimer.

Mae'r e-bost hwn yn cynnwys gwybodaeth y bwriedir ar gyfer y derbynnydd yn unig a gall fod yn gyfrinachol, yn destun ragorfraint gyfreithiol neu broffesiynol, neu fel arall wedi’i diogelu rhag cael ei rhyddhau. Os nad chi yw derbynnydd bwriadedig y neges hon, a fyddech cystal â rhoi gwybod i'r anfonwr ar unwaith a pheidio â datgelu, dosbarthu neu gopïo’r e-bost i unrhyw barti arall. Mae’r e-bost hon ac unrhyw ffeiliau atodedig yn eiddo i Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd.

Pan fyddwch yn anfon e-bost at Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd, rydych yn cydsynio i’r Cyngor fonitro a darllen unrhyw e-byst o’r fath at ddibenion cydymffurfio â diogelwch ac â deddfwriaeth. I weld yr ymwadiad llawn ewch i http://www.newport.gov.uk/ymwadiad

Jane Holbrook (Corporate Admin Supervisor), Newport City Council

Dear Doug

 

Thank you for your recent request for information which I have enclosed
below for ease of reference. Your request has been treated in accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004.   I can confirm that we do hold information
that falls within the scope of your request. The answers to your questions
have been provided in Red Text below.

 

Original questions and answers.

1)Newport City Council has published on its website a list of Licenced
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles this was published before the
implementation date this can be viewed by clicking the following link
[1]www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Licences--permits/Taxi-Licensing/Taxi-Licensing.aspx

 

2a) On what date was it put in place? The list was published approximately
5 weeks  before the implantation date.   

 

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? All vehicles listed
are only  “Wheelchair accessible vehicles”

 

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." The current  list  does not stipulate whether the vehicle is
Private Hire or Hackney Carriage. This will eventually be updated.”

 

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? As stipulated above a copy list can be found on our website
[2]www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Licences--permits/Taxi-Licensing/Taxi-Licensing.aspx

 

Have you made owners and drivers of vehicles on the list aware that their
vehicle has been listed? All Proprietors have been written to alongside
the right of appeal of being included on the list.  

 

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."  This has not been undertaken.

 

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? This has not be
undertaken.

 

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? This has
been incorporated into  the council taxi  Knowledge test and can be found
within  the Council Taxi policy.

 

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? Newport historically has
stipulated the meter should only be placed  at the commencement of the
journey.

 

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.

The Authority has received no such appeals.

 

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? Zero

 

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?   Zero

 

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? N/A

 

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.

 

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?  Currently 3 Drivers

 

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?  We Currently  require a
letter from the driver’s own registered GP.

 

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? It is felt a GP in his /her professional
capacity would be considered an independent  medical assessor.

 

5d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under S166.  Newport City Council does not have an application form
although weexpect the driver to notify the council in writing in
accordance with the council’s Policy.

 

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?
Zero

 

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? We currently do not have such a list.

 

I hope this provides the information you were looking for; if there is any
further information that we can provide, please submit a further request.
If you have any queries about this email or 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, please contact me.

 

If you are not content with the subsequent outcome of your complaint, you
may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
Councils complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

For future reference, all Freedom of Information requests can now be
submitted via the link below.

 

[3]www.newport.gov.uk/foi

 

Regards

Jane Holbrook

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy
iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn
Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will
respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will
not lead to delay.

Disclaimer/Ymwadiad

This email contains information intended for the addressee only and may be
confidential, the subject of legal or professional privilege, or be
otherwise protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient
of this message, please notify the sender immediately and do not disclose,
distribute or copy the email to any other party. This email and any
attached file are the property of Newport City Council.

When you email Newport City Council, you consent to the Council monitoring
and reading any such emails for the purposes of security and legislative
compliance. For the full disclaimer please access
http://www.newport.gov.uk/disclaimer.

Mae'r e-bost hwn yn cynnwys gwybodaeth y bwriedir ar gyfer y derbynnydd yn
unig a gall fod yn gyfrinachol, yn destun ragorfraint gyfreithiol neu
broffesiynol, neu fel arall wedi’i diogelu rhag cael ei rhyddhau. Os nad
chi yw derbynnydd bwriadedig y neges hon, a fyddech cystal â rhoi gwybod
i'r anfonwr ar unwaith a pheidio â datgelu, dosbarthu neu gopïo’r e-bost i
unrhyw barti arall. Mae’r e-bost hon ac unrhyw ffeiliau atodedig yn eiddo
i Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd.

Pan fyddwch yn anfon e-bost at Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd, rydych yn cydsynio
i’r Cyngor fonitro a darllen unrhyw e-byst o’r fath at ddibenion
cydymffurfio â diogelwch ac â deddfwriaeth. I weld yr ymwadiad llawn ewch
i http://www.newport.gov.uk/ymwadiad

References

Visible links
1. http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Li...
2. http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Li...
3. http://www.newport.gov.uk/foi

Dear Newport City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Newport City Council's handling of my FOI request 'S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - C no fixed previous date'.

In response to my question:

"2a) On what date was it put in place?"

you said:

"The list was published approximately 5 weeks before the implantation date."

I have no idea what this means. Please provide a date.

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/s...

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

City Contact Centre, Newport City Council

Bore Da/Good Morning,

Thank you for your email.

I have forwarded your enquiry to the Information Management team to advise accordingly.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on the Telephone number below. Our hours of opening are Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.

Kind regards,
Georgia
Newport City Council Contact Centre
Tel: 01633 656 656
Minicom: 01633 656 657

Visit www.newport.gov.uk
Did you know we offer a range of council services online, easy to use and available 24/7.

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg a Saesneg. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn eich dewis iaith, boed yn Saesneg, yn Gymraeg neu’n ddwyieithog, cyhyd â’n bod yn ymwybodol o’ch dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh. We will communicate with you in the language of your choice, whether that’s English, Welsh or in Bilingual format as long as we know which you prefer. Corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay.

show quoted sections

Information Management, Newport City Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

Thank you for your email. I have noted your comments and have logged this
as a request for an internal review of our handling of your original
request. As part of this review, the Council will revisit your request and
may issue a different response to the original one issued. The review may
also uphold the Council’s original response.

 

Whilst there is no stipulation within the Freedom of Information Act for
timescales for internal reviews, the Council endeavours to complete these
within 20 working days of receipt. Further information on internal reviews
of requests for information can be found on the Information Commissioner’s
website at [1]http://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/off....

 

Regards,

 

Information Management.

 

 

 

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy
iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn
Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will
respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will
not lead to delay.

Disclaimer/Ymwadiad

This email contains information intended for the addressee only and may be
confidential, the subject of legal or professional privilege, or be
otherwise protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient
of this message, please notify the sender immediately and do not disclose,
distribute or copy the email to any other party. This email and any
attached file are the property of Newport City Council.

When you email Newport City Council, you consent to the Council monitoring
and reading any such emails for the purposes of security and legislative
compliance. For the full disclaimer please access
http://www.newport.gov.uk/disclaimer.

Mae'r e-bost hwn yn cynnwys gwybodaeth y bwriedir ar gyfer y derbynnydd yn
unig a gall fod yn gyfrinachol, yn destun ragorfraint gyfreithiol neu
broffesiynol, neu fel arall wedi’i diogelu rhag cael ei rhyddhau. Os nad
chi yw derbynnydd bwriadedig y neges hon, a fyddech cystal â rhoi gwybod
i'r anfonwr ar unwaith a pheidio â datgelu, dosbarthu neu gopïo’r e-bost i
unrhyw barti arall. Mae’r e-bost hon ac unrhyw ffeiliau atodedig yn eiddo
i Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd.

Pan fyddwch yn anfon e-bost at Gyngor Dinas Casnewydd, rydych yn cydsynio
i’r Cyngor fonitro a darllen unrhyw e-byst o’r fath at ddibenion
cydymffurfio â diogelwch ac â deddfwriaeth. I weld yr ymwadiad llawn ewch
i http://www.newport.gov.uk/ymwadiad

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/off...

Information Management, Newport City Council

Dear Mr Paulley,

 

In reply to your request for an internal review.

 

I have undertaken an internal review of your original request which I have
enclosed, with our original answer, below for ease of reference. As you
submitted this under freedom of information your request has been
treated in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000,  the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Data Protection Act
1998.  These acts enable individuals to request and receive recorded
information held by public authorities, unless it is exempt from
disclosure against clear guidelines.

 

Our response to your original request:  REQ05127

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?  Newport City
Council has published on its website a list of Licenced Wheelchair
Accessible Vehicles this was published before the implementation date this
can be viewed by clicking the following link
[1]www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Licences--permits/Taxi-Licensing/Taxi-Licensing.aspx

 

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? The list was published approximately
5 weeks  before the implantation date.  

 

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? All vehicles listed
are only  "Wheelchair accessible vehicles"

 

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." The current  list  does not stipulate whether the vehicle is
Private Hire or Hackney Carriage. This will eventually be updated."

 

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? As stipulated above a copy list can be found on our website
[2]www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Licences--permits/Taxi-Licensing/Taxi-Licensing.aspx

 

Have you made owners and drivers of vehicles on the list aware that their
vehicle has been listed? All Proprietors have been written to alongside
the right of appeal of being included on the list. 

 

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."  This has not been undertaken.

 

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? This has not be
undertaken.

 

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? This has
been incorporated into  the council taxi  Knowledge test and can be found
within  the Council Taxi policy.

 

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? Newport historically has
stipulated the meter should only be placed at the commencement of the
journey.

 

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.  The Authority has
received no such appeals.

 

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? Zero

 

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?   Zero

 

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? N/A

 

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.

 

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?  Currently 3 Drivers

 

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?  We Currently require a
letter from the driver's own registered GP.

 

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? It is felt a GP in his /her professional
capacity would be considered an independent  medical assessor.

 

5d) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under S166.  Newport City Council does not have an application form
although we expect the driver to notify the council in writing in
accordance with the council's Policy.

 

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?
Zero

 

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? We currently do not have such a list.

 

Your request for an Internal Review – REQ05242

Dear Newport City Council,

 

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.  I am writing to request an internal review of Newport City
Council's handling of my FOI request 'S167 List of Accessible Taxis:
update after 6 months - C no fixed previous date'.

 

In response to my question:

 "2a) On what date was it put in place?"

 you said:

 "The list was published approximately 5 weeks  before the implantation
date."

 I have no idea what this means. Please provide a date.

 Thank you

 

Our response to your request for an Internal Review – REQ05242

Thank-you for your request for an Internal Review of our response to your
Freedom of Information request (REQ05127).  We have reviewed our original
response and I would like to provide you with the following update;

 

Firstly can I apologies for any confusion regarding the data that was sent
to you as part of your Freedom of Information Request.  The Licensing
Manager has noted that further clarification would have prevented any
confusion.

 

The Licensing Authority first  published its list on the web site on the
23^rd August 2017.  As such, the Licensing Authority gave the initial
response that the list was published approximately 5 weeks before the
recommended deadline of October 2017.

 

I hope this provides the information you were looking for; if there is any
further information that we can provide, please submit a further request.
If you have any queries about this email or 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, please contact me.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you have a
right under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the Councils
complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Regards,

 

Information Management

 

 

 

Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg, Saesneg neu yn y ddwy
iaith. Byddwn yn cyfathrebu â chi yn ôl eich dewis. Ni fydd gohebu yn
Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

The Council welcomes correspondence in English or Welsh or both, and will
respond to you according to your preference. Corresponding in Welsh will
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References

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