446.Only the courts have power to award damages as compensation for discrimination, but there are other ways in which providers of goods and services can be persuaded, or even forced, to change their practices so that they comply with the Act and put disabled people as far as possible in the same position as those who are not disabled. In this chapter we consider first the role of conciliation and mediation. We then look at the possibility of creating a Disability Ombudsman. Finally we examine the already considerable powers of local authorities, how they might be enhanced, and how more and better use could be made of them.
447.The Disability Rights Commission developed a conciliation service to which any complaint arising out of an alleged failure to provide goods or services in a non-discriminatory way under the DDA could be referred for resolution. When the Disability Rights Commission was replaced by the EHRC, section 27 of the Equality Act 2006 gave the EHRC the power to provide conciliation services.
448.In March 2011 the Coalition Government, as part of its examination of public bodies, issued a Consultation Paper putting forward a number of suggestions for changes to the role and functions of the EHRC. One of the questions asked was: “Do you think the Government should repeal the EHRC’s power to make provision for conciliation services, as part of the process of focussing the EHRC on its core functions?” Of the 293 responses received, 61 agreed, 206 disagreed and 26 were not sure. Despite this the Government concluded:
“We have now decided to repeal the EHRC’s power to make arrangements for the provision of conciliation in non-workplace disputes. We do not believe that arranging conciliation services for individual cases fits with the EHRC’s strategic role, or that it is necessary in light of the range of good quality, accessible and effective mediation provision already available throughout England and Wales and Scotland.”
Accordingly section 27 of the Equality Act 2006 was repealed by section 64(1)(b) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 with effect from 25 June 2013.
449.The EHRC wrote: “The removal (which we opposed) of our statutory power to arrange the provision of conciliation services for non-employment cases is a particular concern for disabled people given that the majority of non-employment discrimination claims are disability cases.” That concern was shared by the Discrimination Law Association, who told us in written evidence: “DLA members advising and supporting disabled people in non-employment discrimination claims have called for re-instatement of the EHRC power to establish a conciliation service.” Most forcefully Nick O’Brien, when asked which two recommendations he would like to see this Committee make, said: “The Disability Rights Commission had a power to arrange for a conciliation service in respect of goods, facilities and services disputes. The need for that, or something similar, has become more acute now that the prospect of taking cases to court—civil cases in the county courts and even in tribunals—is so significantly reduced.”
450.We recommend restoring the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s power to arrange the provision of conciliation services for non-employment discrimination claims. The service specification should provide for a range of delivery methods to ensure it is accessible, including provision of face-to-face conciliation, and the service should take direct referrals from the Equality Advisory and Support Service or its replacement.
451.The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, having abolished the EHRC’s power to arrange conciliation in non-employment cases, instituted a mandatory conciliation scheme for employment disputes. From May 2014 anyone wishing to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal must contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) in the first instance, although both parties need to agree to participate in the conciliation process. The Government’s Memorandum describes this as “free, confidential and impartial assistance to help those dealing with an employment dispute”, and says that “there are clear benefits for those involved”.
452.We can well believe that there are benefits for businesses involved. We are less sure of the benefits for those claiming disability discrimination. The Secretary of State told us that “over 83,000 cases were notified to ACAS in 2014–15, including about 6,900 cases involving possible disability discrimination. In 75% of cases, both parties agreed to participate in early conciliation, and then only 18% of cases led to a tribunal claim. Things are being resolved before they get to the tribunal.” It should not be assumed from this that the remaining 82% of cases are satisfactorily resolved. ACAS figures for 2014–15 show that 15% of conciliation cases result in a settlement, 63% do not, but neither do they progress to the Tribunal, and 22% do progress to the Tribunal. Fees are the most commonly cited reason for not proceeding.
453.In our call for evidence we asked: “Could other regulatory bodies with a role in the effective implementation of the Equality Act 2010, such as inspectorates and ombudsmen, play a more significant part?” Some of the replies we received did indeed consider whether the existing ombudsmen could play a greater part; we refer to this later. However a number of respondents suggested that there was a case for creating a specific Disability Ombudsman. Aspire wrote:
“We would welcome the introduction of a Disability Ombudsman; this would allow individuals to seek closure and redress after experiencing discrimination, without the financial and time burdens of attending court. We would also recommend that there is facility for the Ombudsman to consider group complaints, with harsher penalties imposed where institutions have been found to routinely discriminate against disabled people.”
454.The National Association of Deafened People would have liked to see an independent Disability Ombudsman with an all-embracing role which would include: “Defining reasonable adjustment; publicising what constitutes reasonable adjustment; publicising what reasonable adjustments have been made by different companies grouped by size, type of company and when made; adjudicating in cases where reasonable adjustment has been refused; proactively requiring that similar companies make reasonable adjustments in line with their peers or in accordance with the recommendations set out in the EHRC guidance notes; and enforcing the provisions of the Act.”
455.Disability Rights UK thought that “Consideration could be given to a disability ombudsman, as an expert means of enforcing disability rights, free to the complainant, by hearing complaints and considering the facts of each case as presented by both the disabled person and the accused.”
456.However a number of witnesses pointed out that hearing complaints and adjudicating on them was primarily the task of the courts. The Law Centres Network wrote: “Ombudsmen should not be expected to adjudicate on discrimination cases because the basis of all Ombudsman complaints is good administration or good practice, whether or not actions are lawful.” Unity Law wrote: “Our experience of Ombudsmen is that they are loath to get involved with discrimination cases as they–quite correctly–see that as the role of the courts.”
457.We find that a persuasive argument. More persuasive still, however, was the view of Mick Martin, the Managing Director and Deputy Ombudsman of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman:
“The landscape of ombudsmen is already very crowded but, more importantly, very confusing for the public who might want to utilise it … Our push is in the opposite direction from creating individual ombudsmen for particular things … individuals come to us because of a set of experiences they have had with the public sector. Those experiences tend to cover a number of things, one of which may be issues that are dealt with via the [Equality] Act. We think it is important to deal with those issues in the round … about 75% of the complaints we receive are about health. We often have cases whereby someone’s treatment has been complicated or the service they received much harder and less well provided because that person had disabilities that were not catered for by the healthcare provider … breaking up the different types of things that people are experiencing is quite hard to do … from the point of view of the citizen, understanding whom to go to, where to go, how to get there, how to get help is more important than having subjectspecialist ombudsmen.”
458.Nick O’Brien, who at one time was Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, agreed: “it is important to remember there are a whole plethora of public and private ombudsmen—that the landscape is already quite cluttered … The challenge is to make sure that the existing ombudsmen more selfconsciously use the powers they already have to embed equality and human rights in what they do.” Sally Warren told us that the Care Quality Commission had already been able to reflect Equality Act considerations in their regulations. She explained: “It is really important that the Equality Act is embedded in our regulations, because we cannot take action under the Equality Act; we can take action only under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.”
459.The Secretary of State noted that Mr Martin did not think that creating a new ombudsman was a good idea, and said that the Government had been consulting on proposals to create a single public sector ombudsman. She personally was supportive of this.
460.We have no view on whether creating a single public sector ombudsman with a broader remit would be an improvement on the current position, but we are persuaded that yet another ombudsman would not. We believe that, instead, the mandates of other ombudsmen should be widened explicitly to cover disability issues. At a minimum this should include the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman. There is a case, as the Discrimination Law Association suggested, for the role of other audit or inspection bodies, such as Ofsted, the CQC or HM Inspector of Prisons, to include ensuring compliance with the PSED by the institutions they inspect. We believe the Government should consult with the EHRC and disabled people’s organisations to determine which additional bodies should include in their mandate a specific reference to the interests of disabled people.
461.We recommend that the Government amend the mandates of those regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen that deal with services most often accessed by disabled people to make the securing of compliance with the Equality Act 2010 a specific statutory duty.
463.It is clear to us from the large volume of evidence we received that much of the most serious and frustrating discrimination from which disabled people suffer is in access to services at local level. Transport for All gave us an example of just how effective the powers of local authorities can be: “Newham Council used its planning powers to deny planning permission to Transport for London to build the Jubilee Line through the borough until they agreed to make all the stations in Newham step-free, arguing it was a reasonable adjustment.”
464.We consider here the use local authorities can make of their powers to license premises, their powers to license taxis, and their building and planning powers.
465.We agree with the Access Association: “This country should not expect disabled people to spend their own time fighting for physical access to services. It should be provided by local authorities, via the licensing system … A local authority should be able to request the provision of facilities which enable disabled people equality of access, and should be able to enforce the maintenance and continued provision of these facilities.”
466.From the evidence we have received, we can confirm that, as the Access Association told us, a frequent example is the provision of a disabled person’s toilet in a restaurant, pub or café.
“Often, as space is at a premium, these facilities are used as storage areas for cleaning equipment or beverages, making them unavailable for people who need to use them. In such an instance, the [Act] requires the individual disabled person who experiences this discrimination to raise the issue with the service provider, which could eventually result in the disabled person having to take legal action against the service provider. In reality, many disabled people will often not bother going through this process, as it seems lengthy, costly and difficult - and the question should be asked: ‘Why should they?’.”
467.Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues cannot operate without a licence from their local authority. Under section 4(2) of the Licensing Act 2003, a licence can be refused only for a failure to comply with one or more of four specific objectives.
(1) A licensing authority must carry out its functions under this Act (“licensing functions”) with a view to promoting the licensing objectives.
(2) The licensing objectives are—
(a)the prevention of crime and disorder;
(c)the prevention of public nuisance; and
(d)the protection of children from harm.
468.The Access Association thought that “entertainment and alcohol licensing regulations could be amended to require a local authority to assess premises applying for, or renewing, a licence in terms of access for disabled people, and to require an establishment or event to provide suitable access and facilities for disabled people before a licence is granted or renewed”. The solution is not quite so simple. It was made very plain to us that the primary legislation in its current form does not allow this.
469.Marie-Claire Frankie is the licensing solicitor at Sheffield Council, and told us: “I deal with all things licensing, whether it be taxis, premises, gambling or sex establishments. In addition, I am a solicitor for NALEO, which is the National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers and, as part of that, I go around the country giving training to licensing authorities and their officers and members on all matters licensingrelated.”
470.Ms Frankie explained that “If a new premise was coming in, the health and safety team would go out and they would make it part of the requirements and the plan of the premise that it had disabled access and disabled toilets and it was an accessible premise.” However for existing premises, there is nothing licensing authorities can do. They cannot revoke licences or add conditions.
“Because of the licensing objectives, there is no way of getting it before a committee because they are not breaching crime and disorder; they are not committing public nuisance; they are not publicly unsafe; and they are not endangering children. If there was an additional objective relating to equality … when they are out looking at the premises, finding locked toilets, finding disabled toilets being used as storerooms, with their enforcement information they could bring that before the committee and review the licence. When the licence is being reviewed, you [would] have the mechanism there to add conditions to it or, in extreme cases, to revoke the licence.”
471.The only one of our witnesses to oppose a new objective in the Licensing Act was the Secretary of State. She told us: “Some local authorities already include awareness and compliance with equality law as a consideration when inspecting licensed premises … officials in the Government Equalities Office could liaise with the Home Office officials to consider the scope for spreading good practice.” But she concluded: “I have to say I am instinctively against adding more and more into legislation because I do not think it always changes practices.”
472.The Licensing Act requires the Secretary of State to issue guidance to licensing authorities about the discharge of their functions. In March 2015 the Home Secretary, who is responsible for licensing, issued Revised Guidance. Licensing authorities are required by section 5 of the Licensing Act to publish a statement of their licensing policy at least every five years, and the Guidance requires them to explain in their statement of licensing policy how they have complied with the PSED. But awareness of good practice is not enough; enforcement powers are needed. None of our witnesses are suggesting legislation which would impose fresh burdens on businesses. The legislation is already in place, in the shape of the provisions of the Equality Act prohibiting discrimination and requiring reasonable adjustments. What our witnesses, and we, are suggesting is a change which will allow the burden of enforcing that legislation to shift from disabled people to local authorities, many of which are keen to assume that responsibility. Businesses which comply with the Equality Act have nothing to fear.
473.We recommend that section 4(2) of the Licensing Act 2003 be amended to make a failure to comply with the Equality Act 2010 a ground for refusing a licence. The Scottish Government may like to consider a similar amendment to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
474.We have referred in Chapter 7 to the provisions of the Act on wheelchair accessibility of taxis, on the carriage of wheelchairs and assistance dogs, and on training. All of these need to be enforced, and local authorities need the powers to ensure the provisions are applied. Where they already have the powers, they need to use them. Some already do. Transport for All gave us the example of Stroud, who improve access by halving the licensing fees for wheelchair accessible minicabs. But they also told us of Guildford Council voting to remove the requirement for new taxis to be wheelchair accessible, despite a shortage of such cabs in the area.
475.Some witnesses suggested giving local authorities the power to decline licences if conditions such as training and wheelchair accessibility are not met. In fact local authorities already have that power. DPTAC explained: “Local authorities’ licensing powers include the option to sanction taxi and private hire vehicle drivers who discriminate against disabled passengers, either by declining to pick them up, or by charging extra for carrying a wheelchair or assistance dog.” As DPTAC’s Chair, Keith Richards, explained: “Ultimately, the sanction could be, as I say, through a properly enforced licensing regime, to remove their licence to trade as a taxi driver. That could be the ultimate sanction, but with various levels of sanctions in between that and doing nothing.”
476.Ms Frankie explained: “In Sheffield, we used to have a by-law that meant, if you were driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle, as all our hackney vehicles are, you had to be fit to load and unload wheelchairs into your vehicle … If somebody came and said, “I have a back injury. I cannot do that”, we would only issue them with a private hire licence … Now, with the Equality Act, there is the exemption in place … so you are in the position where you have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle being driven by a person who is not able to assist someone in a wheelchair to get in and out.” As we have explained, the provision of the Act requiring taxi drivers to carry wheelchair passengers (section 165) is not in fact yet in force.
477.Ms Frankie told us how the enforcement provisions did not always work in practice:
“I have prosecuted a driver for failing to carry a guide dog … he was found guilty. He got his £100 fine, £200 costs. As a result of that, we referred his licence to the licensing committee and they revoked it, saying that, if you are not prepared to take guide dogs, you are not a fit and proper person, which is the test, to be a licensed driver … He appealed to the magistrates’ court … and magistrates said, when looking at the two years he had been licensed, it was not reasonable. If you want local authorities to take this seriously and revoke licences when drivers breach the Equality Act, an addition to the 1976 Act … would at least show magistrates that local authorities should take taxi licensing seriously”.
478.We referred in Chapter 7 to the Law Commission report on Taxi and Private Hire Services, where they said that two things were particularly clear:
“first, that a lack of training and understanding are at the bottom of many of the problems experienced; and secondly, that enforcement of existing protections is weak, if indeed it takes place at all … the Secretary of State should have the power to set national standards for driver, vehicle and dispatcher licences. These powers would include setting standards relating to safety, accessibility and matters relating to enforcement. Discrimination against disabled people is an area in which these three categories of standards are inherently intertwined.”
479.As the Law Commission say, enforcement through the courts is costly, and courts would in any case have no power to take action against the licence. They continue:
“In order to provide a more effective means of enforcement, and one which targets the offending behaviour more squarely, we strongly recommend that the Secretary of State should exercise the standard-setting powers to make it a condition of licence for both drivers and operators that they comply with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, specifically section 29, which prohibits discrimination in the provision of a service. This would allow a licensing authority to take action against the licence where there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a driver or dispatcher had, for example, overcharged a customer on the basis of a disability. It would remove the difficulties the customer faces in seeking to take action against this behaviour, as the procedure would be activated simply by lodging a complaint with the licensing authority.”
The draft Bill annexed to the report includes the necessary statutory provisions.
480.We endorse the recommendation of the Law Commission “that the Secretary of State require holders of taxi and private hire driver licences and dispatcher licences to comply with the Equality Act 2010 as a condition of the licence.”
481.We recommend that all local authorities should exercise their powers of persuasion and coercion so that no drivers are licensed unless they have had disability awareness training, and no taxis are licensed unless they are wheelchair accessible. Where the driver or operator fails to comply with the Equality Act, local authorities should be prepared to take action against the licence.
482.In Chapter 7 we gave examples of modern railway developments with stations which were not accessible to disabled people. This criticism can too often be applied to buildings generally. The Manchester Disabled Peoples Access Group told us of “many new and refurbished public and private buildings with barriers for disabled people, including new award winning buildings such as the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, and the new Central Library in Manchester.”
483.Part M of the Building Regulations deals with access for disabled people in the built environment. Approved Document M, issued by the Secretary of State under his powers in the Building Act 1984, sets out ways in which builders and developers can comply with Part M of the Regulations. The 1999 version of Approved Document M was entitled “Access and facilities for disabled people”, but in 2004 this was changed to “Access to and use of buildings”. Part M and Approved Document M nevertheless remain of particular importance to disabled people. They apply to new buildings and, since 2004, can apply to some material alterations of and extensions to non-domestic buildings, and to some material changes of use. They do not require work to be undertaken to upgrade existing buildings.
484.We received evidence on the use of the Building Regulations in support of disabled people from Bob Ledsome, Deputy Director, Building Regulations and Energy Performance, Department for Communities and Local Government, who summarised the position as follows:
“The important thing about the approved documents is that if a developer follows the guidance in that document then that is taken as proof of compliance with the relevant building regulations. It provides a safe haven, as it were. If a builder follows the approved document, then the building control body is likely to accept that is compliant with whatever the regulation requires. It does not mean that the developer has to follow the approved document guidance. They could do something different if they so wished, but in doing so they are likely to be quizzed more rigorously by the building control body as to how the particular approach that they take meets the relevant Part M requirements.”
485.Although compliance with the Approved Document will virtually guarantee compliance with the Regulations, does it necessarily follow that it also indicates compliance with an Act of Parliament which looks at buildings from the rather different perspective of disabled people? The version of the approved document in force until 1 October 2015 thought not, and the introduction includes this statement.
“The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustment to a physical feature … Although the guidance in this Approved Document, if followed, tends to demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations, this does not necessarily equate to compliance with the obligations and duties set out in the [Equality Act]. This is because service providers and employers are required by the EA to make reasonable adjustment to any physical feature which might put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. In some instances this will include designing features and making reasonable adjustments to features which are outside the scope of Approved Document M. It remains for the persons undertaking building works to consider if further provision, beyond that described in Approved Document M, is appropriate.”
486.However an entirely revised edition of Approved Document M came into force on 1 October 2015. This now consists of two volumes. The second, dealing with public dwellings, has the same passage as the earlier Approved Document, but regrettably the first volume does not, since it deals with new private dwellings to which Part 4 of the Equality Act does not apply.
487.If new buildings are going to be truly accessible for disabled people, local authority control officers, when assessing compliance with the Building Regulations, should be going further and looking at new designs and new buildings from the point of view of compliance with the Equality Act. In doing so they were, and to some extent still are, greatly assisted by expert access officers.
488.Rachel Smalley, an expert in housing and President of the Access Association, told us:
“Many members of the Access Association are access officers who work in local government and … can influence the development process to ensure that an accessible and inclusive environment is created for everyone … It is really important to appreciate the value of access officers and access professionals who specialise in access and inclusion for disabled people, who have the specialist technical knowledge to make sure a development is accessible.”
489.We were unable to discover from our witnesses how the number of access officers now compares with some years ago. Mrs Pedler’s statement that “We saw the disappearance of access officers”, seems to be true at least of Oxford. She told us in her written evidence: “I made an impassioned speech to Oxford City Council in 2010 stressing the importance of the Access Officer and her post was saved for 2 more years, albeit with reduced hours and a wider brief, but the battle is now lost.” Jane Young wrote: “In my own area, Kingston upon Thames, I was employed as Disability Equality and Access Officer from 2003 until 2009, when I retired. Since my retirement, the authority has had access to little or no advice on access and inclusion.”
490.The reason is not far to seek. Councillor McShane, the Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture at the Local Government Association, told us: “The nature of the financial constraints that we are under will often mean that—not just in relation to access officers—a whole series of functions are now sometimes being wrapped up into broader roles. It would be dishonest not to recognise that that can mean that you lose some of the really valuable expertise that you had before.”
491.Local authorities must ensure that building control officers, whether or not employed by them, have access to the necessary expert advice to monitor compliance not just with Part M of the Building Regulations, but also with the Equality Act.
492.The new Approved Document M now includes two new optional technical standards. Standard M4(2) provides homes with features which will benefit disabled people, older people, families with young children, and people with temporary impairments or injuries (similar to the previous Lifetime Homes standard). Optional requirement M4(3) requires reasonable provision to be made for people to gain access to, and use, the dwelling and its facilities, and this provision must be sufficient to allow simple adaptation of the dwelling to meet the needs of occupants who are wheelchair users.
493.These requirements are optional, but local planning authorities can introduce planning policy to make the optional accessible housing standards a requirement. In supplementary written evidence the Access Association told us: “The Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority have led the way nationally in introducing planning policy to require the new optional technical standard on accessible housing. Their altered London Plan policy requires 90% of all new build housing to be built to the new optional building regulation standard M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings, and 10% to be built to be wheelchair accessible or wheelchair adaptable dwellings [M4(3)]. The Secretary of State has signed off the Mayor of London’s proposed alterations to the London Plan subject to monitoring, and they have been approved and passed by the London Assembly (February 2016).”
494.The Access Association added that relatively few local authorities outside London are working on introducing planning policy via their local plans or development frameworks, and that the optional Building Regulations provide the opportunity for this. They are “keen to see local authorities assessing the need for accessible housing, and introducing planning policy to achieve the provision of accessible housing (either accessible and adaptable, or wheelchair accessible or adaptable) via the optional Building Regulations M4(2) and M4(3).”
495.In supplementary evidence Councillor McShane wrote: “To apply the higher standards councils will need to demonstrate evidence of both the need for the higher standards in their area and prove that the imposition of those will not make delivery of development unviable.”
496.We believe that other local authorities should follow the example of London and revise their planning policy to require a significant proportion of new dwellings to be wheelchair accessible or wheelchair adaptable (standard M4(3)), and all other new dwellings to comply with optional standard M4(2).
497.Councillor McShane summed up the situation from the point of view of the Local Government Association: “One of the reasons why local government is so keen on powers being devolved on things like licensing and planning is that we want the powers to be able to shape our community in a way that ties in and aligns with the values of our residents.”
498.Local authorities and other licensing bodies are uniquely well placed to deal with many of the problems which prevent disabled people from enjoying life to the full. When exercising their licensing powers and their powers under the Building Regulations, they should always bear in mind their obligations under the PSED—revised, we hope, in accordance with our recommendations—to take all proportionate steps to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunity.
660 Government Equalities Office, Building a fairer Britain: Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Response to the Consultation (May 2012) para 10 and para 2.13: [accessed 2 March 2016]
661 Supplementary written evidence from the Equality and Human Rights Commission ()
662 Written evidence from Discrimination Law Association ()
663 (Nick O’Brien)
664 Government Equalities Office, Memorandum to the Women and Equalities Select Committee on the Post-Legislative Assessment of the Equality Act 2010, Cm 9101, July 2015, p 53: [accessed 16 March 2016]
665 (Nicky Morgan MP)
666 ACAS, Research paper: Evaluation of ACAS early conciliation 2015, February 2016, para 6.1: [accessed 16 March 2016]
667 See Appendix 3
668 Written evidence from Aspire ()
669 Written evidence from the National Association of Deafened People ()
670 Written evidence from Disability Rights UK (). Others supporting the creation of a Disability Ombudsman included Mind (); Sense suggested a Discrimination Ombudsman ()
671 Written evidence from the Law Centres Network ()
672 Written evidence from Unity Law ()
673 (Mick Martin)
674 (Nick O’Brien)
675 (Sally Warren)
676 (Nicky Morgan MP)
677 Nick O’Brien gave us supplementary evidence suggesting that if the Committee were minded to recommend the appointment of a Disability Ombudsman, we might instead consider a Disability Commissioner. We believe the same reasoning applies. We are also mindful of the recommendation of the report published on 23 February 2016 by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations: “This review calls on government to establish the role of a Learning Disabilities Commissioner which puts a statutory duty on the holder to promote, enhance, and protect the rights of people with learning disabilities and their families in England.” ()
678 Written evidence from the Discrimination Law Association ()
679 Written evidence from Transport for All ()
680 The Access Association describe themselves as an organisation for access professionals and experts from a variety of backgrounds, including the private sector and local authorities. “We are a national network of individuals who are passionate about access and inclusive design.” The Access Association, ‘About us’: [accessed on 2 March 2016]
681 Written evidence from the Access Association ()
683 Section 4 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 allows licences to be refused on the fifth ground of “protecting and improving public health”.
684 Written evidence from the Access Association ()
685 (Marie-Claire Frankie)
686 (Marie-Claire Frankie)
688 (Nicky Morgan MP)
689 Licensing Act 2003, . The issuing of the guidance is mandatory, it is approved by both Houses of Parliament, and has statutory force. of the Act requires licensing authorities to “have regard” to it.
690 Home Office, Revised Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, March 2015, Paras 13.59–13.60: [accessed 16 March 2016]
691 Supplementary written evidence from Transport for All ()
692 For example written evidence from Scope ()
693 Written evidence from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee ()
694 (Keith Richards)
695 (Marie-Claire Frankie)
696 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976
697 (Marie-Claire Frankie)
698 At para 312
699 Law Commission, Taxi and Private Hire Services, Cm 8864, May 2014, paras 12.40–12.41: [accessed 2 March 2016]
700 Ibid., paras 12.43–12.44
701 Ibid., Clause 15(3): “Regulations under section 14 must specify criteria which prevent a person who has applied for a taxi driver’s licence or a PHV driver’s licence being granted the licence unless, within a period specified in the regulations ending with the date the application was made, the applicant has completed an approved training course concerning the needs of disabled people who hire or seek to hire licensed taxis or licensed private hire vehicles.”
702 Written evidence from Manchester Disabled Peoples Access Group ()
703 The Building Regulations 2010 (), Schedule 1, Part M: Access to and use of buildings
704 (Bob Ledsome)
705 HM Government, ‘The Building Regulations 2010, Access to and use of buildings, Approved Document M, 2013 edition’: [accessed 16 March 2016]
706 A feature which complies with Part M but not with the reasonable adjustment provisions will not necessarily require an alteration. Regulation 9(2) of the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010, SI 2010/2128, reads: “It is not reasonable for a provider of services, a public authority carrying out its functions or an association to have to remove or alter a physical feature where the feature concerned (a) was provided in or in connection with a building for the purpose of assisting people to have access to the building or to use facilities provided in the building; and (b) satisfies the relevant design standard.” This applies for 10 years: see para 1 of the Schedule to the Regulations.
707 HM Government, ‘The Building Regulations 2010, Access to and use of buildings, Approved Document M, 2015 edition’: [accessed 16 March 2016]
708 (Rachel Smalley)
709 (Gwynneth Pedler)
710 Written evidence from Gwynneth Pedler ()
711 Written evidence from Jane Young ()
712 (Councillor Jonathan McShane)
713 Supplementary written evidence from Access Association ()
715 Supplementary written evidence from the Local Government Association ()
716 (Councillor Jonathan McShane)