Equality and human rights in social care
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the public body responsible for promoting and enforcing equality and non-discrimination laws, has published a new report on equality and human rights in social care.
The EHRC wants to see equality and human rights built into social care, and those principles used to guide decision-making, as well as reform in the sector. They hope the new report will be used by:
- Governments and parliamentarians: when making decisions about social care frameworks, funding and reform.
- Social care commissioners, providers, and social workers: to help embed equality and human rights into policy and practice.
- Regulators: to help guide their important work to improve standards in the social care sector.
- Those with care needs and carers (and those who advise and support them): as a resource to help them understand and realise their rights.
The EHRC nine principles for equality and human rights in social care are:
- Available: everyone with social care needs can get the support they need to live a dignified life, with a system that is sufficiently and sustainably funded to achieve that.
- Accessible: social care services should be easy to navigate and help people to make informed choices. Services must anticipate the needs of disabled people and any adjustments required, including independent advocacy.
- Person-centred: care should be personalised and tailored to individuals’ needs, including needs related to their protected characteristics. Health, care and wider community services should be coordinated around the individual.
- Choice and control: individuals should have maximum choice and control over what social care they get and how it’s provided. The voices of those with care needs should be at the centre of decisions that affect them, in line with the principles of participation and co-production.
- Community and connection: people should be supported to live in their own homes and access social care services close to home, communities and support networks.
- Effective redress: routes to challenge decisions and raise complaints should be effective and accessible.
- Robust regulation: regulators should work to promote equality and human rights and ensure accountability and continuous improvement in social care services.
- Support for unpaid carers: services should recognise the vital role of unpaid carers and work in partnership with them. Carers should be able to access the support they need, including financial help.
- A valued workforce: caring should be a valued profession with fair recruitment, pay and treatment, and opportunities for training, development and progression. This should be recognised as important for improving standards of care and upholding people’s rights.
Our campaigns manager, Dave Bracher said:
“This is a welcome and significant contribution by the EHRC into the discussion about what adult social care needs to look like in the future. However, we also have to remember that the desperately needed reform of social care has been promised repeatedly by successive governments for many years, all of whom have then failed to deliver, despite the cross-party acknowledgement that a solution has to be found.
“Social care also needs significant investment; it’s been estimated by the health and social care select committee that a minimum of £7bn a year extra by the end of this Parliament is needed just to maintain current standards of care.
“The social movement Social Care Future describes their vision for social care like this:
“We all want to live in the place we call home, with the people and things we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing what matters to us.”
SIA wholeheartedly endorses this definition, and believes that this vision alongside the nine principles from the EHRC should form the basis of the long-overdue reforms to the social care system.”
More details about the work of the EHRC can be found on their website.