Just received an email ‘reply’ from EHRC – I use the term loosely as ‘reply’ implies that you actually read and understood the original query.
In order for a person to be classed as having a disability they have to meet the definition of a disability as set out by the Act. The Act says that a person must have a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial, adverse effect on one or more of their normal day to day activities. The substantial effects should be long term meaning they have lasted 12 months, are likely to last for 12 months or for the rest of a person’s life.
If a service provider requires an individual to sign a legal contract it is likely that this procedure should be adhered to. The service provider would need to consider making reasonable adjustments to this procedure if it placed a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.
From the information that you have given, it appears that the DWP made a reasonable adjustment by allowing you an appointee who could sign the forms. This reasonable adjustment may not have been suitable as this would then have meant that the appointee would be held responsible for the liability of the car.
The DWP could look at other adjustments they could make in order for you to sign the forms for the Motability contract hire scheme. May I ask if you have a signature stamp? If you do then it is possible that the DWP could accept this method of signing the forms.
If you feel that the DWP have failed to make reasonable adjustments for you, you could consider taking formal action. There are strict time limits of 6 months minus 1 day from a specific incident date to do this. It is your responsibility to take the appropriate action within this time.
I can’t decide if I can be bothered to write back and explain that forcing someone to relinquish their rights when they’re a perfectly competent and intelligent human being is HARDLY A REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT.