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Powell V. Brent London Borough Council Notes

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Powell V. Brent London Borough Council Revision

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POWELL V. BRENT LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL FACTS The plaintiff, Mrs. Paulina Powell, became employed by Brent London Borough Council in December 1983. Her conditions of employment at that time are said to include various procedures which the council have agreed to apply with reference to all the men and women working for the borough. They include what one would expect: the necessary period of notice for determination of the contract; disciplinary procedure for any breach of discipline, with rules and a system of appeal; and they also include the council's code of practice for the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equal opportunity in employment. Claimant's application for promotion: In November 1986 the plaintiff was employed as a Senior Benefit Officer in South Kilburn. She was concerned with the administration of housing benefit. She saw an advertisement containing a description of the post to which I have referred. It represented significant promotion for her with a salary increase of about £3,000 per annum and advancement in responsibility. She applied. She was interviewed on 27 November

1986. Another candidate interviewed was Mr. Steve Barrett, who was also employed by the council as a Senior Policy and Training Officer (Housing Benefits). Mr. Connell informed the plaintiff by telephone that the appointment subcommittee had selected her. The plaintiff says that she was also told to report at her new place of work the next day. The other candidate's complaint: On 1 December Mr. Barrett, pursuant to his conditions of employment, inquired as to why he had not been selected for the job. Mr. Connell, in accordance with the code of practice, saw him. Mr. Barrett handed in a letter explaining his grievance. He believed himself to be better qualified for the job than the plaintiff. Claimant told to re-apply: On 26 January the plaintiff was told of the decision of the subcommittee that the post be readvertised. She was asked to re-apply for the job when it was readvertised. The plaintiff says that she was distressed and upset. She responded in a letter dated 28 January 1987 which seemed to me to be a mixture of good sense and of angry allegations of dishonourable and improper conduct, including racist opposition to her as a black woman. HOLDING Claimant's argument - seeking injunction Put very shortly, her case was that if the council were allowed to advertise again and to fill the post she could not then be confirmed in the post, even if she won the case. She could

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