The government has been challenged to back a private members’ bill on extending human rights protection to users of independent care services.
Labour MP Andrew Dismore, chair of the joint committee on human rights, has said his bill, which will receive its second reading on 15 June, was “the only game in town” to end the current exclusion of independent public service providers from liability under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The courts have repeatedly interpreted the act as applying only to public bodies, despite the widespread outsourcing of public services, particularly in social care.
Campaigners and the government have put their faith in a current House of Lords case, which is about whether the eviction of a resident from an independent care home would breach her human rights, to ensure the act is applied more widely in future.
However, Dismore said the Lords could not be relied upon and legislation was the only way to ensure all public services would be covered by the act.
Recent reports have suggested the government only favours a limited extension of the act, to cover just publicly-funded residents of independent care homes rather than users of outsourced public services in general.
Human Rights Act 1998 (Meaning of Public Authority) Bill
New private member’s bill to protect human rights in private care services
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