Glasgow bin lorry crash driver recruitment procedures criticised


An inquiry in to a bin lorry crash which claimed the lives of six people has heard claims there were "significant shortcomings" in the council's recruitment procedures at the time the driver got his first job at the authority.

Harry Clarke, 58, was driving the council truck in Glasgow city centre on December 22 last year when it went out of control, with witnesses reporting that he appeared to lose consciousness at the wheel.

A fatal accident inquiry looking in to the tragedy has already heard that Mr Clarke had a history of health issues including fainting, dizziness and stress dating back to the 1970s.

And it has been told that he did not disclose his medical history when completing a health questionnaire as part of his job application to be a school bus driver for Glasgow City Council in 2010.

Dorothy Bain QC, representing the family of one of the crash victims, questioned Geraldine Ham, a human resources manager at the council, as the inquiry entered its third week.

Talking the witness through various employment documents, the lawyer put it to her: "At the stage that Mr Clarke was employed by the council to transport children with special needs, we can see significant shortcomings in the council process for recruitment."

Ms Ham said the local authority tried to ensure that the necessary employment processes were in place.

Ms Bain said the inquiry has seen that where Mr Clarke "doesn't tell the council the truth, the recruitment process was not adequate in order to prevent his employment".

The witness agreed.

The QC went on: "For that reason you would agree, I presume, that the recruitment process wasn't adequate?"

Ms Ham responded: "There's room for improvement, yes."

She also agreed that Mr Clarke would not have been given the job if the council had received full disclosure of his medical history.

Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died from multiple injuries after being hit by the truck.

Stephenie Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed as the lorry travelled out of control along Queen Street and towards George Square before crashing in to the side of the Millennium Hotel.

The Crown Office ordered a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the crash after prosecutors ruled there was no evidence to warrant criminal proceedings.