Ian Kerr of The Consulting Association accused of breach of Data Protection Act

The man heading up the company that compiled a blacklist of construction workers is to go on trial today.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is prosecuting The Consulting Association under the Data Protection Act. The case will take place at Macclesfield Magistrates Court in Cheshire.

Ian Kerr is boss of The Consulting Association. The firm is said to have produced a blacklist of over 3000 workers.

Over 40 companies subscribed to Kerr’s list, which was discovered during an investigation by the Information Commissioner. The companies include major players in the m&e sector including N G Bailey, Haden Young, Balfour Kilpatrick and Shepherd Engineering Services.

Construction union Ucatt has accused one firm, Skanska, of spending more than £28 000 on checks in 2008 alone.

Skanska has promised to investigate its use of the construction blacklist and has pledged not to tolerate any form of blacklisting on its sites.

Ucatt said it had seen documents showing that Skanska spent more than £28 000 on blacklist checks in 2008 with the Consulting Association, alongside an annual subscription of £3000.

Ucatt said each check cost £2.20, meaning the firm made about 35 checks a day last year.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, who was on the Consulting Association’s blacklist, said: “The level of blacklisting that appears to have been undertaken by Skanska is staggering.”

Much of the information on the database contained details of whether workers were members of trade unions and if they had raised health and safety concerns on previous sites.

If as expected Ian Kerr lodges a guilty plea he will be tried in a magistrates’ court, where the maximum fine is just £5000.