The Committee is asked to note and agree to the commencement of Sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010 as from the 6 April 2017 and the process that the Council and the Tendring Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licenced trades will have to follow in order to lawfully comply with Sections 165 and 167 of the Act.
The Committee had before it a report (A.2) which sought its agreement to the commencement and implementation of Sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010.
The Licensing Manager informed the Committee of the requirements that those Sections would place on the Council in its capacity as the Licensing Authority for Tendring Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers, vehicles and operators and also the legal obligations which it would place on Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers and operators of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles.
It was reported that:
The Licensing Manager informed the Committee that there was an appeal process for vehicle proprietors who disagreed with the Council’s decision to designate their vehicle as a wheelchair accessible vehicle and that this must be submitted to the Magistrates Court within 28 days of the designation decision being made.
The Licensing Manager also informed the Committee that the DfT and Government had suggested an implementation period of six months to allow for relevant vehicles to be designated as wheelchair accessible, drivers to be able to apply for medical exemptions and appeal any refusals to exempt at Magistrates Court and also for vehicle proprietors to appeal any designation of their vehicle to Magistrates’ Court.
The Licensing Manager confirmed that the Act went live on 6 April 2017 so if the Licensing Authority were able to achieve a six month lead it would mean that Sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010 would begin to apply in Tendring as from around mid- October 2017.
Members were informed that the Licensing Section had commenced the process of communicating the implementation of Sections 165 and 167 to the Taxi and Private Hire trades and had explained to them what the Council’s and their legal responsibilities would be under those sections by way of an article in April’s Taxi newsletter.
Members raised questions on various issues which were responded to by Officers.
Following discussion, it was moved by Councillor Callender seconded by Councillor Watson and unanimously RESOLVED that the Committee:
a) Agrees to implement Sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010 as laid out in the main body of the report and looks to implement within a period of six months from the date of this Committee meeting if it is possible to do so;
b) Delegates the final setting of this future date to the Head of Customer and Commercial Services and/or the Licensing Manager;
c) Adopts the suggestion made by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Government that applications and decisions on medical or physical exemptions for drivers will be fairer and more objective if medical assessments are carried out by an appropriately qualified medical professional who is independent of the driver and that this will be achieved by referring the driver/applicant to the Council’s Occupational Health provider/assessor who is independent of the Council and such a request and referral for an exemption will be entirely at the applicant’s own expense; and
d) Designates the criteria for listing and publishing the details of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Tendring District as per the details outlined in Appendices 1 and 2 of this report and are those vehicles that are able to carry a passenger seated in a “reference wheelchair” or larger.