FOI Request Review of S167 List of Accessible Taxis: Update after 6 months
Original Request and Response at http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_116493.html
I am writing to request an internal review of Moray Council's handling of my FOI request 'S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - D previously undecided'.
You've missed several elements of my FOI request.
"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?"
Following your request for a review of our response to the FOI you submitted, 101001652758 a review meeting was held at the council offices on 14th December 2017. In attendance were the Records and Heritage Manager, Senior Solicitor, Licensing Solicitor and the Information Coordinator.
Your request for review was discussed and it was agreed that, the responses to the questions highlighted in your original request were not provided at the time as, due to there not being a list under Section 167 of the Equality Act, there were no statutory duties under Section 166 to which the questions relate, therefore we are unable to require taxis to adhere to duties we do not currently enforce.
However, under section 16 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002- Duty to provide advice and assistance, we have provided responses to your questions as posed:
5b) This information is exempt under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002- Information Not Held.
5c) No, but the council does have a chosen medical provider which currently undertakes medicals for Taxi applications, the provider is currently PAM group.
5d) This information is exempt under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002- Information Not Held- there is no S167 process to adhere to.