Human rights are more than just a list of values or an example of best practice.They are not gifts from government or rewards you can earn. Human rights are the law, they are the rule book on how states should treat individuals. Public services have a legal duty under the Human Rights Act (HRA) to respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights in their work, including service delivery, policies and decision-making.
The HRA sets out to create a culture of respect for human rights, which should be respected in staff’s every day interactions with the people that use their services. The HRA is there to help public officials, such as doctors, social workers and the police to make difficult decisions and to support people and advocates to challenge decisions which might not be rights respecting.
This duty covers central Government and the public authorities that people interact with every day, including state schools, NHS hospitals, local councils, police, care homes and other public services. This is important because it makes the difference for people’s everyday lives without having to go to court. The HRA means that human rights should be sitting across all the decisions authorities are making.
We often hear that the system services operate within is broken and therefore bad things happen. A human rights lens does not accept this; it enables us to call for legal accountability for individual people, and across public services. Human rights are about addressing the individual risks and systematic failures.
Just as importantly, although often missed, is the preventative function of human rights. Embedding a human rights approach which is based on fulfilling human rights duties means not breaching rights, and managing the risks so that positive action is taken to protect rights. The real value of a human rights approach is that is becomes the frame through which we understand what has gone wrong, how to fix it and how to prevent such things happening in the first place.
At BIHR we work with services and the people using them to develop a human rights approach. So the the services meet their legal duties to respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights. You can read more about our Change Project here.
We know that organisations work better when they use a human rights based approach, staff have an effective decision making framework and those that use the service are empowered to know and use their rights. If you want to create change in your organisation we can work with you to create a bespoke plan for change, embedding a human rights based approach in your organisation. Helping your organisation respect and protect human rights, a legal duty which is set out in the Human Rights Act. Read more here.
This page is currently being updated so please check back to find more information soon!