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

The request was successful.

Dear Scarborough Borough 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

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

 

Email Address: [FOI #443120 email]

FOI Request Reference: FOIA5372 - Wheelchair accessible Taxis and Private
Hire vehicles

Thank you for your written communication of 06/11/2017

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

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

Please ensure that any further communication in relation to this matter is
sent by you to the Freedom of Information Officer at the below address
quoting the reference FOIA5372 in all communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Freedom of Information Officer

Legal and Democratic Services

Scarborough Borough Council

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

t: 01723 232323

f: 0870 2384159

w:  [2]www.scarborough.gov.uk

 

 

 

Licensing Services, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – FOIA5372

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

Request
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.

Response
The Licensing department has not compiled a list since April 2017.
The FOI from April will still remain the same.

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

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

Yours sincerely

Licensing Team

e:[email address]  |  t: 01723 232323 

Scarborough Borough Council, Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. YO11 2HG
Business hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays
          

As a recent customer we would like to hear your views about the service you have received so that we can monitor those services and take steps, where necessary, to improve them.  All answers will be treated in the strictest of confidence and will only be used to monitor the Council’s services.  We should be grateful if you would complete a very short survey.  To complete the survey please Click here

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Dear Scarborough Borough Council,

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

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

You haven't read my request properly and consequently have not responded to many elements of my request, which is not for the same information as I requested in April.

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

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

I acknowledge receipt of your email requesting an internal review of Freedom of Information Request FOIA5372.

The review request has been referred to the Regulatory and Governance Manager to complete. We will respond as soon as possible.

Yours Sincerely

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

show quoted sections

Dear Scarborough Borough Council,

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

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

You haven't read my FOI request properly. It was not identical to my previous request. You have therefore failed to provide the information I requested in the following elements:

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?

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

Dear FOI,

I have requested that the ICO conduct a S50 assessment on the following basis.

hello

Please conduct a S50 assessment of this request:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

The council failed to read my FOI request properly and thus have not
responded to it in any adequate manner. This remains the case after I
requested an internal review, which they have failed to conduct within
your recommended 20 working day deadline. Please therefore conduct a
S50 assessment of their handling of my FOI request, in particular
their failure to read it properly and respond to the actual
information request I sent.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Scarborough Borough Council

Dear Mr Paulley

 

Thank you for your request for a review of the Council’s response to your
request reference FOIA5372 which has been dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Original request

 

You requested the following information:

 

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
[1]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?

 

Original response

 

The Council responded to your request by way of email dated 20 November
2017 in the following terms:

 

The Licensing department has not compiled a list since April 2017.

The FOI from April will still remain the same.

 

Request for review

 

You have requested a review of this response on the following basis:

 

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

 

You haven't read my FOI request properly. It was not identical to my
previous request. You have therefore failed to provide the information I
requested in the following elements: [questions 3 to 6 inclusive]

 

Response to request for review

 

Having reviewed the Council’s response I can provide the following
information in relation to questions 3 to 6:

 

In response to questions 3, 4a and 4b as set out above, the Council does
not hold any recorded information. However, after speaking to the
Licensing Manager I can state that there is presently an intention to
introduce a section 167 Equality Act 2010 list at some point as yet to be
determined and subject to workload in other areas. I can also state that
the Council will have regard to the statutory guidance on the application
of sections 165 to 167 of the Equality Act 2010.

 

5a. As per the previous FOIA response in April 2017, the Council has not
granted any exemptions under section 166 of the Equality Act 2010.

 

5b. The Council has not as yet put procedures into place for exempting
drivers. This is something that is likely to happen at some point in the
future.

 

5c. See response to 5b above.

 

5d. See response to 5b above.

 

5f. None.

 

6. No.

 

Complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may now
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF | Tel: 01625 545745 | Fax: 01625 524510 | Web: | [2]www.ico.org.uk |

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom of Information

Scarborough Borough Council

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