The claimant worked and slept at a hostel for men with learning disabilities run by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) between 1991 and 2000. Residents were vetted for suitability before they were admitted. There were also strict rules prohibiting the use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Breaches of the rule could result in eviction.
In 2000 the management of the hostel transferred to the local primary care trust (PCT) although our client and her colleagues remained employed by the BMBC. Following the transfer the regime at the hospital changed completely: new residents were not vetted and use of alcohol and drugs was permitted on the premises and no action was taken against aggressive residents.
As a result, young males with mental health, drug use problems and aggressive behaviour were admitted and then their behaviour was condoned. Drug dealers sometimes visited the hostel to do business.
The claimant and her colleagues started to report regular incidents of verbal aggression by residents to their management. They receive little or no support from the PCT managers. They started to report threats to health and safety but female members of staff were still expected to sleep over night on their own.
The claimant struggled on at work until the hostel was closed in March 2004. She then suffered a mental breakdown and was ultimately retired.
This was a first breakdown. The claim was only brought against BMBC as the employer.
They brought in the PCT close to trial as a fellow defendant but BMBC then settled the claim for £48,500 plus CRU of £15,000.