S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - E previous no intent

The request was successful.

Dear Wolverhampton 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 any Section 167 lists and did not at that time have any intent to create such a list.

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 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, Wolverhampton City Council

NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED    

 

Dear Doug Paulley

 

I am writing in regards to the Freedom of Information request we received
on 6^th November 2017.

 

Your request will be dealt with as quickly as possible and a final
response should be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt.

 

If you wish to enquire about the progress of your request, then please do
not hesitate to contact us, quoting the reference number, in the heading
above.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Malkit Sahota

Information Governance Officer

Tel. Office: 01902 554042

 

E-mail: [1][email address]

City of Wolverhampton Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED    

 

Dear Doug Paulley

 

I am writing in regards to the Freedom of Information request we received
on 6^th November 2017.

 

Your request will be dealt with as quickly as possible and a final
response should be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt.

 

If you wish to enquire about the progress of your request, then please do
not hesitate to contact us, quoting the reference number, in the heading
above.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Malkit Sahota

Information Governance Officer

Tel. Office: 01902 554042

 

E-mail: [1][email address]

City of Wolverhampton Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED    

 

Dear Doug Paulley

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for your request for information about ‘S167 List of Accessible
Taxis’.  Your request was received on 6^th November 2017 and I am dealing
with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

In response to your request, please see attached our response.

 

If you are not happy with how we handled your request you can ask for an
internal review.  Internal review requests should be submitted, in
writing, detailing your concerns, within two months of the date of receipt
of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

 

Information Governance Team

City of Wolverhampton Council

Civic Centre

St Peter’s Square

Wolverhampton

WV1 1SH

 

E-mail: [1][Wolverhampton City Council request email]

 

Under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you also have the
right to complain to the Information Commissioner.  However, the
Information Commissioner is unlikely to consider a complaint from you
unless you have first attempted to resolve the matter through our internal
review procedure. The Information Commissioner's details are:

 

The Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

0303 123 1113

 

[2]http://ico.org.uk/complaints/getting/com...

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Malkit Sahota

Information Governance Officer

Tel. Office: 01902 554042

 

[3]E-mail: [email address]

City of Wolverhampton Council

 

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Dear FOI,

You say "please see attached our response" but didn't include an attachment?

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

1 Attachment

Apologies sir,

Please see attached.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Allin
Information Governance Assistant
Tel. Office: 01902 554498
E-mail: [email address]
Secure Email:[email address]
City Of Wolverhampton Council

show quoted sections

Dear Wolverhampton City Council,

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

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

You have employed the exemption for information that is already reasonably accessible to me and have simply pointed me to your response to a previous FOI request I made in April 2017.

That is not legitimate for the following reasons.

1) Matters could have changed since April. In fact, they should have done - the statutory guidance issued under S167 of the Equality Act, to which local authorities are legally obliged to hold due regard, strongly recommends that licensing authorities produce S167 lists by October 2017. The Public Sector Equality Duty obliges authorities to take all steps to increase equality between those with the protected characteristic of disability and those without. Authorities are therefore obliged to have considered whether or not to produce a S167 list. This should be in the minutes of your licensing committees. So simply pointing me to your response of 8 months ago is not helpful or a valid response to my FOI request.

2) I didn't ask for the same information in April and therefore the information I requested was not provided in your response to that request. I state it again:

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 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?

Please don't mess me about any further: provide the actual information I requested and do so without further delay. You are the only one of the 347 licensing authorities to attempt to pull this one on me - none others have attempted to use this exemption and pointed me to their previous response, for the simple reason that the information I have requested this time is not the same information I requested last time.

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, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Doug Paulley,

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Request for Information
Internal Review WCC/FOI/001656

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review into your Freedom of Information request dated 11 December 2017.

The review will be conducted in line with ICO guidance and you will receive our response within 20 working days(11 January 2018). If we require any further time to investigate the internal review, then further contact will be made with you.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner for consideration. Generally, the Information Commissioner will not consider your complaint unless you have exhausted the review process provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

www.ico.org.uk

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Allin
Information Governance Assistant
Tel. Office: 01902 554498
E-mail: [email address]
Secure Email:[email address]
City Of Wolverhampton Council

[http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/media/im...<https://awards.themj.co.uk/winners>[http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/media/im...<http://www.whatsonwolverhampton.com>
DISCLAIMER: This email and any enclosures are intended solely for the use of the named recipient. If this email has a protective marking of PROTECT or RESTRICT in its title or contents, the information within must be subject to appropriate safeguards to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction or damage. PROTECT and RESTRICTED information should only be further shared where there is a legitimate need. If you are not the intended recipient, or responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you may not copy, disclose, distribute or use it without the authorisation of City of Wolverhampton Council. If you have received this email in error please notify us by email to [email address] and then delete it and any attachments accompanying it. Please note that City of Wolverhampton Council do not guarantee that this message or attachments are virus free or reach you in their original form and accept no liability arising from this. Any views or opinions expressed within this email are those of the writer and may not necessarily reflect those of City of Wolverhampton Council. No contractual commitment is intended to arise from this email or attachments.

Dear FOI,

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

dear ICO

Please conduct a S50 assessment of the following request:

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

They employed the exemption for information that is already reasonably
accessible to me and have simply pointed me to their response to a
previous FOI request I made in April 2017.

That is not legitimate for the following reasons.

1) Matters could have changed since April. In fact, they should have
done - the statutory guidance issued under S167 of the Equality Act,
to which local authorities are legally obliged to hold due regard,
strongly recommends that licensing authorities produce S167 lists by
October 2017. The Public Sector Equality Duty obliges authorities to
take all steps to increase equality between those with the protected
characteristic of disability and those without. Authorities are
therefore obliged to have considered whether or not to produce a S167
list. This should be in the minutes of your licensing committees. So
simply pointing me to their response of 8 months ago is not helpful or
a valid response to my FOI request.

2) I didn't ask for the same information in April and therefore the
information I requested was not provided in their response to that
request. They haven't responded to several elements of my request for
information.

I asked them to conduct an internal review on 8th December but they
have sadly not responded. So please conduct a S50 assessment of their
response to my FOI request.

Thank you

Doug Paulley

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Wolverhampton City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Doug Paulley,

 

Following your expression of dissatisfaction regarding the Council’s
recent response in respect of Freedom of Information request reference
WCC/FOI/001656 an internal review has been undertaken, the outcome of
which is attached.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Martin Eades

Senior Information Governance Officer

Tel. Office: 01902 558653

 

[1]E-mail: [email address]

City of Wolverhampton Council

 

 

 

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DISCLAIMER: This email and any enclosures are intended solely for the use
of the named recipient. If this email has a protective marking of PROTECT
or RESTRICT in its title or contents, the information within must be
subject to appropriate safeguards to protect against unauthorised or
unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction or damage.
PROTECT and RESTRICTED information should only be further shared where
there is a legitimate need. If you are not the intended recipient, or
responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you may not copy,
disclose, distribute or use it without the authorisation of City of
Wolverhampton Council. If you have received this email in error please
notify us by email to [email address] and then delete it
and any attachments accompanying it. Please note that City of
Wolverhampton Council do not guarantee that this message or attachments
are virus free or reach you in their original form and accept no liability
arising from this. Any views or opinions expressed within this email are
those of the writer and may not necessarily reflect those of City of
Wolverhampton Council. No contractual commitment is intended to arise from
this email or attachments.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:%[email address]
2. https://awards.themj.co.uk/winners
3. http://www.whatsonwolverhampton.com/

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