A couple, Mr and Mrs X, were carers for three people with disabilities. In 2011, Mr X was accused of assaulting one of the people they cared for. 

The local authority safeguarding inquiry was given some incorrect information and subsequently concluded on the balance of probabilities that the husband was guilty of assault. It removed the couple from its register of approved carers and applied to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to include them on the list of people barred from working with vulnerable adults.

At the original trial in 2012, the judge heard the informant’s evidence and found there was no case to answer. The ISA then refused to include them on the barred list, however, the local authority refused to change its safeguarding conclusion – even when it was provided with the trial transcript.

Subsequently, the couple applied to different local authorities at various times to be carers, but were rejected every time. They gave a complete and truthful account of what had happened in 2011/12. However, when approached to confirm this, the local authority involved referred to the incident as ‘a nasty assault’ and contradicted the account given by the couple.

Christine Cooper from Field Court Chambers acted pro bono for and successfully claimed rectification and damages for their personal data being processed unfairly. Christine provided advice and helped to prepare the papers for the court proceedings, then guided the couple through negotiations with the local authority, saying: “I am very pleased that we were able to put right this long-standing injustice.”

The claim was eventually settled and the local authority agreed to:

  • Correct its records.
  • Bring the correction to the attention of each body who had been given information about the safeguarding inquiry.
  • Provide an open letter acknowledging that the previous information was incorrect.
  • Make a substantial payment to Advocate.