Independent provider exemption from Human Rights Act to be investigated

A parliamentary committee is to examine independent care providers’ current exemption from the Human Rights Act in an inquiry announced yesterday.

The joint committee on human rights will examine the scope of the term “public authority”, which defines those bodies which come under the act.

So far, the courts have not defined independent providers delivering publicly-funded services as being public authorities, against the government’s avowed intentions for the legislation.

However, earlier this month, the committee criticised the government for reversing its view after it was told by constitutional affairs secretary Lord Falconer that bringing independent providers under the act would deter them from entering the market.

The committee is seeking opinions on this issue and means of resolving the problem, such as legislating to include independent providers, by 15 December.

Submissions should be addressed to Nick Walker, commons clerk of the joint committee on human rights, committee office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.

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