Creating a fairer Britain
Title of guidance:
Year published: undated (evaluation of the project took place in 2011)
Length: Human rights and the care of older people information pack, 148 pages
Format: information pack is downloadable in PDF format; other material is online and DVD(458Kb)
Other formats: Contact Scottish Human Rights Commission for copies or alternative formats: 0131 240 2989 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer/ Publisher: Scottish Human Rights Commission
Type or organisation: Human rights commission in the UK
Adult Social Care | Health | External Service Guidance | Human Rights Act | European Convention on Human Rights | International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights | Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities |
Scotland | GB wide| Case studies
Audience: Service management | Front-line service personnel | Policy managers and directors
Topics: Human rights | equality | home care | transparency and accountability | balancing competing rights | dignity | autonomy | disability | age | training | torture / inhuman or degrading treatment | inspection standards | commissioning | procurement | safeguarding | residential care
Care about Rights is a flexible, interactive training and awareness raising programme which gives practical advice about how to apply human rights principles in the delivery of home care and residential care for older people. The materials are intended to be used by older people, carers, care workers, managers, inspectors, policy makers and commissioners of care. Care about Rights explains the benefits of applying human rights principles to everyday situations, by means of practical scenarios with accompanying guidance and explanatory material. The training may be completed in stages, by individuals or as a group, and aims to increase understanding and awareness about:
This training and awareness raising programme comprises:
The materials may be delivered as part of a facilitated training event or a more informal discussion session; for example, in a care setting. Alternatively they may be used by individuals with an interest in human rights and the care and support of older people. The material has a linear format which is easy to navigate, and may be worked through in stages.
The information pack contains detailed guidance for facilitators. This includes plans for sessions lasting one hour; two hours; half a day and a full day. It also includes stand-alone activities, including ‘ice breakers’ and a ‘rounding up’ exercise, together with guidance on the case studies and film scenarios.
It also provides detailed information tailored to each of three audiences:
The pack explains the legal framework and considers the importance of the key articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and international human rights laws relevant for a care setting. It also shows how human rights connect to the principles and provisions of the following:
While the pack contains information on laws and standards which are specific to Scotland, it also contains much generic material and guidance about the Human Rights Act 1998 and international human rights treaties, which are relevant across the UK.
The three film scenarios and 10 written case studies address a range of situations and dilemmas. They provide guidance about how everyone affected might use human rights to analyse the situation and make decisions.
It is important to note that many of the issues raised in both the film scenarios and written case studies are unlikely to reach a threshold of being classified as a
human rights violation in the legal sense. Nevertheless, the resource explains how applying human rights principles and standards can help to resolve the issues in a way in which respects the dignity, autonomy and rights of the individuals involved, as well as avoiding potential problems escalating to the point where human rights violations become more likely.
At the heart of the resource is the ‘FAIR’ approach, which was developed by the Scottish Human Rights Commission to support public authorities to apply human rights in practice.
The basic steps of the FAIR approach are:
The film scenarios are each in two parts: the first sets out the scenario and the second shows how problems could be addressed. In between, the viewer is prompted to use the FAIR approach to examine the human rights issues involved and consider what they would do in each case.
Example: Sheila’s story
Sheila is in her mid-70s and has been diagnosed with dementia. Sheila is fascinated with plants and loved her garden. She now lives in a care home. The film shows Sheila looking outside at the sensory garden and struggling to try to open the door, which is locked. Sheila’s support worker tells her it is not possible for her to go out for her own safety. Sheila gets increasingly frustrated and distressed. The care staff are later seen discussing the incident. They recall that Sheila’s care plan notes the beneficial effects that being outdoors has on her.
The potential human rights at stake are:
These rights can be restricted for the safety of Sheila or the safety of others. The justification in this instance is that the restriction is for Sheila’s own safety.
The guidance suggests, however, that not allowing Sheila outside is a disproportionate restriction and there may be other ways to resolve the issue that are less restrictive of her rights. For example, she can be accompanied outside and plants can be put inside for her for times when she can’t go out.
The scenario concludes with a series of prompts to identify shared responsibilities and review the actions that are required.
The written case studies also employ the FAIR approach.
Example: Clive and Adrian’s story
Clive and Adrian are a gay couple being supported in their own home. Ben, their care worker, has openly voiced his disapproval of their relationship based on his religious views. Clive and Adrian are likely to feel offended by Ben’s views and that their right to live as they choose in their own home is being challenged. Ben, on the other hand, feels that he has the right to express his views and have them respected.
The potential human rights at stake here are:
The guidance explains that none of these rights are absolute and so the rights of one person are not necessarily upheld over another’s. Ben’s right to hold and express his religious beliefs can be restricted by balancing against Clive and Adrian’s right to respect for their private life and their right to be free from discrimination.
The guidance notes that the facts in this situation do not appear to take into account Clive and Adrian’s right to have their privacy and home life respected. It should be considered whether Ben has breached the care provider policies. It should also be made clear to Ben and all staff that all people using care services should be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
The Care about Rights training and awareness raising programme was independently evaluated in 2011. This involved baseline and follow-up surveys of 800 people in Scotland prior to their participating in the Care about Rights training.
The evaluation found that the structure and content of Care about Rights and the supporting materials are considered to be of a ‘very high quality’. The scenarios are particularly useful as they ‘recognise the complexity and subtlety of human rights issues and help to reduce fear and confusion about human rights’.
The evaluation found that understanding of human rights and their application – and confidence to communicate about human rights with colleagues – increased markedly after the training.
It also found considerable evidence that Care about Rights, particularly the FAIR framework, has the potential to assist care workers in using a human rights approach to balance risk in decision-making: 93 per cent of respondents to the follow-up survey reported this as a potential benefit of a human rights approach. Eighty six per cent felt that a human rights approach could help resolve conflict between the needs of different service users.
There was also anecdotal evidence of additional benefits for care providers and workers as a result of Care about Rights. These are improved staff morale (as a result of increased confidence and a sense of empowerment) and a positive impact on care home inspection reports and scoring. Anecdotal evidence shows that where the resources have been brought to the attention of inspection officers they have been viewed as a positive addition to the processes and procedures in place and a resource to provide evidence about the ‘value base’ of the care home.
Older people reported very similar benefits to care workers. The majority reported that they learned something new about human rights and how they relate to care for older people. Advocacy workers and volunteers considered it very important that they know and can clearly articulate human rights information.
The evaluation noted that, while it would take time for momentum to build, impacts increased over time and some participants are now using their human rights knowledge to influence policy through community work and to challenge service providers.
The guidance explains the key principles and provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and how these connect to human rights. It observes that the advancement of equality and the prohibition and elimination of discrimination, on any ground, are fundamental to human rights and a central element of human rights law.
In particular the Equality Act gives further effect to the principles of Article 14 of the European Convention: the right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of Convention rights. An important additional aspect to Article 14 is that the protection from direct discrimination applies on the basis of a broad range of grounds beyond the protected characteristics in the Equality Act.
We hope that you found the resource helpful and easy to use. Please let us know about other guidance or references that you think we should include. Send us your feedback.