H had a conviction for indecent assault on a seven-year old boy, with a further conviction for dishonesty for failing to disclose his earlier conviction when applying for a job. L was his partner. Both were very severely disabled and received payments from a local authority, D, which they used to employed personal assistants. H belonged to a number of representative or consultative bodies dealing with disability issues. H and L ran a company which had obtained contracts from universities and other public bodies. The company’s work did not involve contact with children, and in only one of the agencies with which H was involved had he had any contact with children.
D received a letter from another local authority drawing attention to H’s conviction and saying that he was facing trial for a similar offence (of which he was subsequently acquitted). D convened a strategy meeting effectively chaired by X, the service manager of D’s safeguarding children service, and attended by two other officers from D, two representatives of a local university, a representative of the NHS and two police officers from the local police public protection unit. At the meeting it was decided that, inter alia, the fact of H’s conviction and forthcoming trial would be communicated to various organisations with which he had contact, the university and Primary Care Trust would cease employing or hiring him or his company and he would be asked to stand down from all bodies and committees he was involved with immediately.
Pursuant to these decisions X made a number of telephone calls to various organisations: the local authority’s disability service, the university, the PCT, the Refugee Council, the General Social Care Council and four other agencies in the voluntary or third sector. He informed them of H’s conviction and the “potential for future convictions”, and stated that L, like H, was in denial about H’s conviction and had either not recognised the risk he posed to children or was careless as to that risk. H and L were not told about these disclosures at the time.
D wrote to H and L stating that it intended to make the same disclosures to their personal assistants, and that they intended to only authorise payments to those assistants by means of a managed account.
H and L sought judicial review.
The judge at first instance, HHJ Langan QC, found the disclosures and proposed future disclosures to be lawful, save for the proposed disclosure to the personal assistants, which was unlawful as in breach of H and L’s rights at common law and under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that the proposed managed account scheme was unlawful both for the same reasons and as ultra vires D’s powers under the relevant legislation.
H and L appealed.