The Equality and Human Rights Commission has worked with Cornwall County Council to produce a training pack for Councillors on older people’s home care and human rights.
This follows Close to Home (1), an in-depth inquiry by the Commission which showed that the human rights of older people receiving care at home are often at risk. The report found cases of people not being fed, or left without access to food and water, and others being left in soiled clothes and sheets.
In a follow-up report (2) the Commission said more progress must be made to ensure Councillors receive better information and training about their responsibilities under the Human Rights Act, and that this could improve the planning, commissioning and delivery of better home care services.
The toolkit is designed to be used by individual Councillors as well as in group training sessions. It acknowledges the complexity of adult social care, but sets out clearly what Councillors need to know about the human rights and social care legislative landscape. Links to more detailed information and sources are provided.
Essential legislation is summarised and important differences between the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act Public Sector Equality Duty are clarified. There are also practical questions and prompts intended to support the integration of human rights at every stage of the commissioning process. A checklist for Councillors and commissioners is supplied covering relevant human rights which protect dignity and security, autonomy and choice and respect for privacy.
Equality and Human Rights Commission CEO, Mark Hammond said:
“Elected members of local authorities have a key role to play in protecting the human rights of older people who need home care. These training materials should enable them to use their leadership positions to place the human rights of older people at the heart of decisions about planning, commissioning and delivering home care services, to ensure services provide dignity, respect, choice, fairness and equality to make a positive difference to older people’s lives.
“We know councillors have busy lives with many diverse pressures and demands. These materials have therefore been designed to be used flexibly.”
Cornwall County Council Chairman John Wood said:
“Cornwall Council is delighted to work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in helping to promote the dignity, choices and human rights of older people who use home care services. We are confident that this Toolkit will support Elected Members in all aspects of commissioning home care by ensuring easy access to relevant information, flexible training resources, facts and checklists tailored for their particular roles and responsibilities. “