R (on the application of RB) v Devon County Council [2012] EWHC 3597(Admin)

Case No: CO/9333/20

Date

19 October 2012

Link to judgment

R (on the application of RB) v Devon County Council [2012] EWHC 3597(Admin)

 Discrimination grounds

Age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex & sexual orientation.

Summary of case

The Claimant was the mother of two children, eligible for  support  under the Integrated Children’s Services Scheme (ICS), which was operated by Devon County Council (care services provider) and the Primary Care Trust NHS Devon (health services provider). After the abolition of the PCT NHS Devon, the ICS was supposed to be provided by a single provider.

The mother brought judicial review proceedings alleging the Devon County Council and the Primary Care Trust NHS Devon had failed to properly consider the equality duty when deciding to appoint Virgin Care as preferred bidder to provide integrated children’s health and care services. (Decisions of 11 July 2012)

Outcome

The Court agreed that the decisions of July 2012 did engage the equality duty and the authorities had failed to discharge their equality duty when deciding to appoint Virgin as preferred bidder as no focus on the duty occurred at that stage.

But the Court did not quash the decisionsand the contract with Virgin has now been put in place:

–       Sending the process back to the preferred bidder stage would have delayed a procurement exercise for which time was short and would not benefit the children of Devon.

–       The defendants had addressed the equality duty by their Equality Impact Assessments of September 2012.

–       The claimant was unable to point to any specific detriment which she or her children might have suffered by the failure of the defendants to have addressed the equality duty in the decisions of July 2012.