Human rights based standards involve
People who use and deliver services should know and uphold human rights by setting out how those rights should be realised in care settings.
Service providers should be able to respect, protect and fulfil human rights by clearly communicating how human rights should apply in care settings.
Service providers should provide care that is consistent with human rights and be held to account when they don't.
National Care Standards
Embedding human rights in regulation, inspection and monitoring frameworks can contribute to a culture which realises human rights in practice.
In 2014, the Scottish Government began a review of the National Care Standards for the first time since 2002. The National Care Standards describe what people using a range of care services in Scotland can expect.
Some 23 sets of current standards cover a wide range of care settings including childminders and nurseries, care homes, housing support, services for people in criminal justice supported accommodation and independent hospitals. The standards are written from the point of view of people who use services. They are one way that the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland assess the quality of care.
The Scottish Government's review of the National Care Standards recognised the importance of human rights to ensuring universal high quality care, regardless of how that care was being delivered.
The Commission wants to see this policy goal turned into practice. We believe this should happen by developing robust human rights based standards and through clear communication of the shift in practice which will be required. The Commission acts as a reference point for the development of the revised National Care Standards. We will also sit on the Project Board for this work.
Self Directed Support
Integrating health and social care has been a recent major reform in Scotland, and makes up part of the agenda of personalisation. This approach aims to put individuals at the centre of all decision making, to make sure the care and support people need at every stage is integrated. The move towards self directed support is a good example of person-centred empowerment, especially through the Self-Directed Support (Scotland) Act 2013 (this is also available in Easy Read format).
While the Act, and more awareness about these important principles, is to be welcomed, implementation at a local level has been highlighted as an area of concern. To make a real difference much more must be done to increase understanding of how such approaches can be used in practice. This can mean making different decisions around how resources are allocated and used – especially in these times of austerity.
It also highlights that people working in social care have a key role to play, so that staff as employees understand their rights, and that they can provide rights-based approaches in their roles. Human rights based approaches have the opportunity to provide greater staff empowerment for creativity and personalised responses.