Home > Cases > R (A) v B Council [2007] EWHC 1529 (Admin)

B Council provided home to school transport for thousands of children within its area. Where bus or train travel was not practical, it organised alternative transport by arranging contracts with local transport operators by means of competitive tendering. The Council had numerous contracts with companies and firms for the provision of this education transport. The conditions of contract were the same for all contractors. Drivers were either employees or sub-contractors for these companies and firms. In order to enhance safety, the Council decided to require CRB checks for all drivers used by companies for jobs involving children or vulnerable adults.

For six years before the new regime came into force, the claimant had been a self-employed driver working for a firm providing education transport to the Council. That firm had a contract with the Council to transport children with special education needs on a daily basis. There had never been any complaints about the manner in which the claimant had performed her duties. The claimant decided to change firm. The new firm required her to go through the new CRB procedure. That check revealed a number of criminal convictions.

The convictions all related to the period 1976-1977, when the claimant had been in her teens. The convictions included threats to kill and firearms offences. The Council decided to refuse the application.

The Claimant challenged the decision as irrational.

Claim dismissed. Although art. 8 of the ECHR was involved, the Council’s assessment of risk was neither disproportionate nor irrational. Encapsulated within the term “risk” are two separate considerations: an evaluation of the probability of an occurrence and aversion to that occurrence. Although the probability here was very low, the aversion was extremely high.

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