Older people’s charities, human rights activists and ministers had their hopes of making independent care providers subject to the Human Rights Act 1998 dashed earlier this week in a High Court ruling in a test case.
Mr Justice Forbes said independent providers are subject neither to the Human Rights Act 1998 nor judicial review, as they are not “public authorities”.
The judicial review case was brought by three care home residents against Havering Council’s decision to move them out of public homes into the private sector. They said this violated the authority’s duty to act in accordance with the Human Rights Act as independent homes were not bound by it.
But while Justice Forbes accepted private homes were not bound by the act he rejected the judicial review, saying the council was still obliged to guarantee respect for their human rights, despite the fact it was no longer directly providing their care.
The government had long been looking for a test case to bring independent providers under the HRA, and was represented at the judicial review. However, a government application for appeal was dismissed by Justice Forbes.
Campaigners say people receiving services in the independent sector will be at risk until providers are brought under the act.