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Impact: Covid-19

In March 2020, the UK Government introduced the Coronavirus Act in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We worked with people, public body staff and policy-makers to support them to understand the impact of the pandemic and new laws and regulations on human rights and to advocate for themselves, their loved ones and the people they support.

Joint letter calling on MPs to scrap the Coronavirus Act

On 29 September 2020, we joined charities and human rights groups from across the UK in calling on MPs to scrap the Coronavirus Act. We raised concerns about the disproportionate impact of the Act on ethnic minorities and people in vulnerable situations.

Our briefings showed...


over 15% of people experienced the right to life not being protected because of reduced access to services


almost 10% experienced do not resuscitate orders made without involving the person or when the person was under pressure


almost 30% of people experienced care being taken away impacting their right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment


over 50% of health and care staff experienced restrictions being put in place that negatively impacting people's wellbeing


50% of health and care staff had been told to make decisions that impacted people's right to be free from discrimination

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry: Draft Terms of Reference Consultation

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry was set up to "examine the UK's preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to learn lessons for the future."

In March 2022, the Inquiry held a four-week public consultation on its Terms of Reference (its aims and how it will achieve them), asking what people think should be included.

The final terms of reference have now been published online and we were disappointed to see that the Human Rights Act is not explicitly mentioned although a separate document has been published explaining how the inquiry will use the PANEL principles of human rights in its approach.

The Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers

The Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers is working to “review the UK's legislative framework and institutional arrangements, alongside Government decision-making during the Covid-19 pandemic.” It will publish a report on its findings in autumn 2023 to help inform planning for future public health emergencies.

On Friday 28th April, our CEO, Sanchita, gave evidence to the Commission, focusing on the way human rights were impacted by the laws created and used during Covid.

Our work with people

We worked with more than 20 partner organisations UK wide, providing direct support to over 700 people. Part of our work included offering two free sessions to empower people with care and support needs and their supporters. 90 people with care and support needs booked our online information sessions and before attending, 100% of people were worried about the impact of Covid-19 on their human rights. After the sessions...


people rated their confidence to self-advocate using human rights language in discussions with decision-makers at 4.3/5


70% of people felt able to challenge decisions about their or their loved ones' care and support


100% of people felt able to challenge poor practice using human rights

Attendee at our Covid-19 human rights workshop

“A very useful session which taught me how best to use the Human Rights Act to challenge decisions made related to my care.”

Attendee at our Covid-19 human rights workshop

“Really worth taking part. So often feels like decisions are made about me without me and I had no idea what my rights were. I feel empowered now to start to know how to go about making sure I and other disabled people in similar situations can look at our rights being upheld.”

Attendee at our Covid-19 human rights workshop

“Clear explanations which make me feel more confident about using human rights when raising concerns about my sister’s care.”

Our work with communities

In May 2020, we ran a workshop with Learning Disability England and the #right2home campaign group. After our session, 92% of attendees felt more confident to talk about their human rights when there are decisions about independent living.

Other groups we worked with included HEAR; Carers Scotland; Disability Wales Anabledd Cymru; together in dementia everyday; the Health and Social Care Alliance; Down’s Syndrome Scotland; Carer’s Scotland; and Scottish Autism.

Attendee at our right2home workshop

"I really enjoyed how many service users and carers there seemed to be on the call and how engaged the speakers were with the questions that people were posing. I thought the session talked about a subject that can feel quite abstract in a really accessible and concrete way.”

Attendee at our right2home workshop

“The information was tailored for people with learning disabilities but remained comprehensive.”

Attendee at our right2home workshop

“An accessible and comprehensive workshop on human rights and how we can use them in our day-to-day life.”

Our work with public bodies

As well as offering bespoke human rights sessions, we hosted two-hour open human rights sessions for staff working in public bodies. After our workshops…


100% of staff were more confident to use human rights to tackle challenges caused by the COVID-19 situation


staff rated their confidence to use human rights at work at 4.4/5


staff rated their confidence to use human rights to tackle COVID-19 challenges at 4.5/5

Public body worker at our Covid-19 human rights workshop

“This course helped me to better separate the moral responsibility of upholding human rights from the legal duty and prepared me to challenge breaches of the latter in relation to the Coronavirus Act 2020.”

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