People using contracted-out social care services are not having
their human rights upheld, according to a leading think-tank,
writes Mithran Samuel.
In a report published yesterday, the Institute for Public Policy
Research says courts are failing to apply the Human Rights Act to
private and voluntary sector organisations providing public
“Public authorities” are obliged to uphold and promote
the rights enshrined in the act, but the courts have tended to
interpret this to mean public sector bodies, not those providing
public services, it adds.
The report says: “This means that people who are similarly
situated and receiving similar services do not enjoy equal
protection under the law. The effect is to perpetuate an injustice
that is disproportionately experienced by vulnerable
The problem is particularly acute in social care where the majority
of services are provided outside the public sector.
However, the report adds the Commission for Social Care Inspection
has adopted a human rights approach for all of its inspections,
regardless of sector.
Improving Public Services: Using a Human Rights Approach is
available from www.ippr.org.uk.