News from BIHR

Our Human Rights Sessions

Our August is 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.

On Tuesday, 18 August 2020, we enjoyed delivering a free human rights session with Down’s Syndrome Scotland as part of their 'Grab A Cuppa & Zoom In’ series. Our Human Rights Officer, Eilidh, talked about human rights and care and support - during Covid-19 and beyond - with parents and families of people with Down's Syndrome.

We’re looking forward to our next partnership session – this time with All Wales People First on 28 August 2020.


Read our latest Explainer! This one is all about judicial review – a really powerful legal tool everyday people have to hold the Government and public bodies to account.  If you’re keen to understand what judicial review is and hear more about the UK Government’s new panel which is reviewing judicial review, then this one’s for you. You can read it here!

We also have a new set of Explainers on the laws on face coverings across the UK. We know it can be confusing understanding where and when you have to where a face covering, and who is exempt – especially when it’s different in all four nations of the UK! Hopefully our Explainers will help – find them all here.


BIHR Evidence to the JCHR Inquiry

Throughout July, we have been busy gathering evidence through our Communities of Practice platform, surveys and our direct work across the UK. Our policy responses are directly informed by people’s real-life experiences of the issues, drawn from our work to support people to benefit from their human rights in their daily experiences.

To focus our work, we collected evidence from three groups we work with:

  1. People accessing (or trying to access) health and care;
  2. Staff working in health and care during Covid-19; and
  3. Advocates and campaigners

We’re still working on our full reports and easy read versions of our findings, which will be published very soon.In the meantime, find out more here, and read a summary of our key human rights findings from this work here.


News from Elsewhere...

 A-level student launches legal bid against Ofqual

 “An A-level student has launched a legal bid against the exams regulator Ofqual to “force them to come up with a fairer system”.

 The Good Law Project, which is supporting six other students over a judicial review of Ofqual’s “failings”, has so far raised almost £60,000 by crowdfunding to cover legal costs.

 Curtis Parfitt-Ford, 18, accused the government of “playing politics” with the futures of thousands of young people after a standardisation algorithm that took into account schools’ historic performance downgraded almost 40% of predicted grades.”

 The Guardian, 16 August 2020


Coronavirus in Scotland: Dozens moved to care homes after Covid diagnosis

“At least 37 patients were transferred from Scottish hospitals to care homes after testing positive for coronavirus.

Official figures previously revealed 1,431 untested patients were moved between 1 March and 21 April, before pre-discharge testing became mandatory.

An investigation by the Sunday Post found at least 300 people were tested during that time.

The Scottish government said discharge decisions were taken by clinicians based on people's needs”

BBC News Scotland, 16 August 2020


Domestic abuse surged in lockdown, Panorama investigation finds

“The coronavirus crisis has dramatically compounded domestic violence against women, new research has revealed.

Two-thirds of women in abusive relationships have suffered more violence from their partners during the pandemic, according to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama.

Three-quarters of victims also say the lockdown has made it harder for them to escape their abusers.”

The Guardian, 17 August 2020


Mortality rates for children and young people with learning disabilities

“Children and young people with learning disabilities are at a higher risk of premature death compared to the general population. Studies of cause of death for people with learning disabilities show that many deaths are potentially avoidable, including conditions which are amenable to timely and effective healthcare.”

Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory, 18 August 2020


DWP enters legal agreement to improve services for deaf customers

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has entered a legally binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to improve support for deaf customers accessing its services by telephone.

Two advisers raised a complaint with the EHRC on behalf of four hearing-impaired people who needed to use the telephone service with a British Sign Language interpreter to help them decide whether or not to apply for a home loan.

All four disabled people faced difficulties in dealing with staff from DWP and Serco who didn’t know how to arrange the interpreting service. One out of the four managed to book an interpreter, but only after three months of difficulty.”

Equality and Human Rights Commission News, 19 August 2020


Expert coalition calls for fundamental review of disability assistance system

“A fundamental review of disability assistance must be initiated by the Scottish Government during the next parliament, according to a coalition of organisations campaigning for long-term improvements to social security for disabled people. 

Following the devolution of powers over disability and ill-health benefits to the Scottish Government, the Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security (SCoRSS), has launched its long-term vision for disability assistance in Scotland. 

The coalition includes Citizens Advice Scotland, Inclusion Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA), Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), MS Society Scotland and the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA).”

Scottish Housing News, 19 August 2020