News from BIHR

BIHR's involvement in a new human rights tool!

This week, Right2Home published a new online tool and website to support people with loved ones who are autistic and/or have learning disabilities who are struggling with restrictive visiting policies and unable to see their loved ones.

We at BIHR are proud to have supported the development of this tool through a series of testing workshops with people who would use the tool to inform its development.

Read more about the tool and our involvement and about our work with other communities and groups here!


Our Human Rights Sessions

October has been very busy indeed with lots of human rights sessions, delivered to Local Councils or in partnership with other organisations. We really enjoy delivering human rights sessions as a chance to engage with lots of different groups of people across the country and help them understand more about human rights and what they mean.

This week we’ve had a great time working with local authority health and care teams across the country. On Monday, our Programmes and Policy Manager, Carlyn, was (virtually!) in the North East supporting an adults and older persons inpatient mental health team to know and use human rights int heir work. On Wednesday, Eilidh, one of our Human Rights Officers, was in the Midlands with an adult social work team!



During the pandemic, we’ve been working hard to translate the huge amount of new law which has been passed into plain language Explainers which explain the law across the UK and how it impacts human rights.

You can find all our law and policy Explainers on our Coronavirus hub, including our most recent Explainer on the new self-isolation law in England. We’ve also put together an Explainer on the Joint Committee on Human Rights Report on 'The Government's response to COVID-19: human rights implications' – you can read it here.

This week, we’ve been collecting evidence to submit to the Independent Review of Administrative Law to share the thoughts of the people we work with on human rights and the judicial review process, in particular how such processes have impacted human rights in health and care settings. We’ll publish our work once it’s been submitted, but for now you can read our plain language Explainer on what judicial review actually is and what the panel reviewing the judicial review process is! Find it here.


News from Elsewhere...

  1. Inquiry begins into blanket use in England of Covid 'do not resuscitate' orders

“An investigation has been launched into allegations of the blanket use of “do not resuscitate” orders in England during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns have been raised that blanket orders were applied to some groups – such as residents in some care homes – as the NHS faced the first peak of Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was proceeding with the review “at pace”.”

The Guardian, 12 October 2020


  1. Care homes in England to name relatives as key workers to allow visits

“Relatives of care home residents in England are to be designated as key workers so they can be tested regularly for Covid-19 and continue to visit loved ones.

The plans, initially a pilot project, with no details about how they would be rolled out, were announced to MPs on Tuesday by the care minister, Helen Whately. They are a win for families and charities that have been calling for months for relatives to be given the same key worker status as staff.”

The Guardian, 13 October 2020


  1. Care home Covid visiting restrictions relaxed in Scotland

“The rules on visiting residents in care homes are to be relaxed, the Scottish government has announced.

Indoor visits will no longer be limited to 30 minutes, and can now last up to four hours.

Visitors will be allowed to hold hands with residents as long as they stick to rules to stop the infection spreading.

And up to six visitors from two households, including children, will be able to attend outdoor visits which can last up to one hour. 

Visitors will also be allowed to bring residents gifts and their belongings.”

 BBC News (Scotland), 12 October 2020


  1. Home Office evicting asylum seekers in areas with local lockdowns in breach of its own guidance

“Asylum seekers in areas under local lockdown are being evicted by the Home Office – despite the department’s own guidance saying they should not be forced to leave their homes while coronavirus restrictions are in place, The Independent has learnt.

Ministers are facing legal action after asylum seekers were served notice to leave their asylum accommodation in Manchester, where Covid-19 rates have been rising and local lockdown measures are being enforced.

But the move goes against criteria set out by the Home Office stating that people should not be evicted if they are in local authorities subject to regional lockdowns.”

 The Independent, 10 October 2020


  1. Hospital staff held cloth over elderly patient's head

“An elderly patient with dementia was restrained on 19 separate occasions to allow hospital staff to forcibly treat him, BBC News has learned.

The man was repeatedly bruised by security guards and his requests for the restraints to be stopped ignored.

One incident, at Kent's William Harvey Hospital, saw a cloth held over his head while his arms and legs were held so nurses could insert a catheter.”

BBC News, 14 October 2020