Equalities watchdog launches online human rights resource for public sector PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 August 2011 15:04

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has unveiled an online resource about human rights to help public sector bodies in England and Wales and organisations carrying out public functions and advocacy.

The resource covers nine areas: adult social care; children's services; health; housing; education services; local government; criminal justice; courts and prisons; policing, and immigration and asylum.

The EHRC has also outlined a number of common and recurring themes from the guidance “that should be applicable to everyone”: They are:

  • Positive obligations: “The Human Rights Act means that all public authorities have an obligation to ensure that people's rights are respected in all that they do”
  • Human rights as an aid to decision making: “Human rights principles can strengthen decision-making at both corporate and service levels and help to prevent service failure,” the EHRC said. “Human rights can provide an important 'check and balance' – helping to determine proportionate action, especially where the interests of different parties conflict”
  • Proportionality: “The principle of proportionality is at the heart of a human rights framework,” the Commission argued. “This can be summarised as 'not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'. It ensures that any restriction of a person's human rights is kept to a minimum”
  • Assessing and managing risk: “Human rights can be used to ensure that risk management practice is lawful, balances the interests of all those involved, and is proportionate,” the EHRC said. Human rights can be infringed when public authorities are excessively risk averse as well as when they fail to act to prevent risk, it added
  • User and public involvement: “The inclusion of service users, is an essential part of a human rights based approach”
  • Equality and good relations: “Viewing equality issues through a human rights lens can help to shift the emphasis from negative compliance to positive cultural change”
  • Building a human rights culture: “Leadership, senior level commitment and engagement, and effective training in human rights principles and practice are fundamental to any organisation committed to compliance with the Human Rights Act.”

The EHRC’s 29 pieces of guidance bring together learning materials about the human rights obligations of the public sector and how to successfully implement them. “These materials include tried and tested examples of how to consider human rights in public service delivery as well as case studies, informal guidance, inspection standards and impact assessments,” it said.

The Commission has also included materials on supporting the human rights of particular groups such as older and disabled people and refugees and asylum seekers.

There are summaries of each publication to highlight the key human rights messages and other essential information. These were produced by the Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute at London Metropolitan University.

Philip Hoult


Latest News

July 25, 2014

Rude beers fall foul of Portman Group code of practice after council complains

An independent brewer breached the Portman Group’s code of practice in relation to ten of its beers, an independent complaints panel has ruled following a complaint by Newcastle City Council’s public health team. Read more
July 24, 2014

London borough faces judicial review challenge to selective licensing scheme

A scheme for licensing private landlords is facing a threat of judicial review in the London Borough of Enfield. Read more
July 22, 2014

Home Office issues statutory guidance on reform of anti-social behaviour powers

The Home Office has issued statutory guidance for frontline professionals on the reform of anti-social behaviour powers. Read more
July 21, 2014

Chelmsford City Council becomes latest authority to back late night levy

The full council at Chelmsford has approved the introduction of a late night levy in November. Read more
July 16, 2014

Nottingham City Council approves introduction of late night levy

Nottingham City Council has become the latest authority to approve plans for the introduction of a late night levy. Read more



Police photo iStockphoto standard 146x219
July 10, 2014

Power play

Greater use of existing powers could be made to deal with the consequences of late-night drinking and to target problem customers, argues Gerald Gouriet QC. Read more
Alcohol shutterstock 190326683 146x219
July 03, 2014

Recent appeals decisions under the Licensing Act

There have been a number of interesting appeal decisions under the Licensing Act recently, writes Paddy Whur. Read more
June 19, 2014

Durham - an enlightened approach to reviews

Paddy Whur approves of the approach taken to a licence review in Durham. Read more
May 01, 2014

Local authority data retention: Upholding human rights

Emily Heard and Emma Godding consider the significance of two judgments on data retention by public bodies, one where it was found to be lawful and the other where the authority involved came unstuck. Read more


Older news and features

April 16, 2014

No minor matter

March 13, 2014

A licence to busk

Click here for full section archive

Now Previewing on LGL.tv: Preparation for Trial (Click on bottom right of screen for full size.)

Featured Jobs

CLICK HERE to search all current vacancies

Featured Courses & Events

50% off LGLtv subscriptions

Sign up for Courses and Events Updates

* indicates required

Services v2

Yellow pages iStock 000009762383XSmall cropTo access details of individual advertisers, please click on the relevant banner below.

To search all entries in the Local Government Lawyer Services Directory, please click here



 Shout_to_the_top_looking_left_iStock_000006002590XSmall_98x74 Latest Blog Posts





Snap Judgement

Will the SRA's decision to remove the 16 hour minimum training requirement...