How fair is Britain?
Human Rights Review 2012
An assessment of how well
government protects human
rights in health and social care
Equality and Human Rights
The Commission was created under the Equality Act 2006.
• We are a National Human Rights Institution
• We have a mandate to protect and promote human rights
• We have a specific obligation to monitor and report on human rights
situation and progress
The Review is timely
• Extensive domestic public debate about the impact of human rights
• The future of human rights in Britain will be shaped by the Bill of
Rights Commission and Britain’s desire to reform the European
Court of Human Rights
• Evidence from the Commission’s Human Rights Inquiry shows that
human rights can have an impact on raising the quality of care
Human rights are part of our history and
inform our government, judicial system
Health and social care commissioners and
service providers do not always understand their
human rights obligations and the regulator’s
approach is not always effective in identifying
and preventing human rights abuses
Article 3: Freedom from torture, and
inhumane or degrading treatment or
Inhumane treatment or punishment:
If treatment or punishment causes intense physical or mental
suffering, but is not severe enough to amount to torture, it is defined
as inhumane treatment. Physical assaults can amount to inhumane
treatment if sufficiently serious.
Degrading treatment or punishment:
Degrading treatment or punishment arouses a feeling of fear,
anguish and inferiority and humiliates and debases the victim.
Article 8: Respect for private and family
life, home and correspondence
Includes an individual’s physical and psychological integrity, personal
or private space, personal information, identity, personal autonomy
and sexuality, self development, relation with others and reputation.
The concept of family life covers engaged couples, cohabiting couples
and same-sex couples. It covers relationships with siblings, foster
parents and foster children and grandparents and grandchildren
A ‘home’ has been described as ‘the place, the physically defined area,
where private and family life develops’
People who use health and social care
services may be at risk of inhumane
or degrading treatment
• People receiving health or social care from private and voluntary
sector providers do not have the same level of direct protection
under the Human Rights Act as from public bodies.
• Local authorities do not make the most effective use of the scope
that they have for protecting and promoting human rights when
commissioning care from other providers.
• Better inspections of all care settings are needed.
Not enough is done to protect the
dignity and autonomy of people who
use health and social care services
• People receiving health and social care from private and voluntary sector
providers do not have the same guaranteed level of protection under the
Human Rights Act as from public providers.
• There is a lack of awareness, both within local authorities and among
care staff, of how human rights obligations apply in a health and social
• Better complaints systems are needed across the health and social care
• Increased pressure on health and social care budgets puts the Article 8
rights of services users at risk.
• HRA and European Convention on Human Rights are a strong
foundation for protecting human rights
• The Review supports the Commission’s submission to the UN’s
Universal Periodic Review and future work in this area
• Findings are shaping
– our strategic plan for the next three years
– our legal strategy
• The Commission will work with Government and stakeholders over
next 3 years