20 December 2007
Link to judgment
Summary of case
To make savings in light of budget deficits, the London Borough of Harrow proposed restricting the provision of adult care services to people with critical needs only.
A consultation and an equality impact assessment were carried out regarding the proposed change. During this process, concerns were identified that the proposed decision would have a differential impact on particular groups of disabled people.
A report on the issues, including analyses of the results of the consultation process and the equality impact assessment, was then considered at a Cabinet meeting, where the Council decided to implement the proposed change. However, the Disability Equality Duty, and the specific obligations it places on the Council, was not explicitly brought to the Councillors’ attention when they made the decision.
The Court held that elected members could not come to a balanced conclusion without being aware of what their responsibilities were under the Disability Equality Duty. As a result, the decision to restrict adult care services was held to be unlawful.