Second Discrimination Case launched against the PM

Dan Williams, a 28 year old Cardiff based business man and disability rights activist is claiming compensation and injunctive relief against the Prime Minister for repeatedly sending communications in typed print to him, when his sight loss means he cannot read them.

Daniel has Retinitis Pigmentosa and is certified blind by a Consultant Ophthalmologist. He is therefore deemed to have a disability within the meaning of s.6 of the Equality Act 2010 by virtue of Regulation 7 Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010,

Various government departments are aware that Daniel cannot read typed correspondence sent to him through the post. He receives Personal Independence Payment from the DWP for his sight loss, he receives Blind Persons Tax Allowance from HMRC. He is registered with Sight Loss Outpatients clinics at his local hospital, and therefore the NHS has his details. He is also registered Blind with his local authority.

Despite that, the Prime Minister’s office chose to write to him recently enclosing a leaflet about the Coronavirus with important information about what the public were expected to do at a time of a national health emergency. He was unable to read either the covering letter from the Prime Minister or the leaflet.

The Claimant was concerned that he needed to understand the content of his letter and arranged for his Mother to come to his house to do so 3 days later. This put both of them at risk from contracting the virus.

We are pleased to support Daniel in his challenge.

The Prime Minister’s Office is a provider of facilities and services for the purposes and within the meaning of section 29 of the Equality Act (EqA) and is subject to the obligations contained within the EqA, including the duty to make reasonable adjustments. In the alternative, The Prime Minister’s Office is exercising a public function in accordance with section 29(6) of the EqA.

In sending this information in typed letter format in the post only, we say that the Prime Minister’s Office has discriminated against Daniel and potentially thousands of other blind people contrary to section 29(2) (c) of the Equality Act and within the meaning of sections, 20 and 21, of the Act, as applied by sections 29(7) (a) and Schedule 2 to the EqA, in that the Prime Minister’s Office has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable Daniel to access the information. Specifically, an auxiliary service in the form of information by text or by email would have avoided the substantial disadvantage to which those with sight loss including Daniel are placed compared to those who are not disabled by the provision of information in print.

So we believe that the Prime Minister’s Office has failed to take reasonable steps to provide such information and as result Daniel suffered a detriment in that he was unable to access the information provided in your letter.

Section 20(6) of the Equality Act makes it clear that the duty to make reasonable adjustments includes “a duty to provide information in an accessible format where appropriate”. By refusing to provide Daniel with information in an accessible format The Prime Minister’s Office has accordingly failed to make a reasonable adjustment.

Not for the first time recently we have reminded the Prime Minister of his obligations under s.149 of the EqA to have due regard in exercising his functions to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.

Naturally Daniel is extremely concerned that as someone with sight loss he was unable to access information that the rest of the population had access to and which the government deemed so important it had to be sent to every household in the UK. He wishes to ensure that he is never again omitted from the government’s consideration in a time of emergency.

A Letter of Claim has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and we await a response.

About the Author

Chris Fry

Chris is the founder of Fry Law.