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Private Client Law

03 JUN 2014

Home Care Inquiry: bringing down barriers to human rights

Nony Ardill

Senior Lawyer, Equality and Human Rights Commission

This article summarises the findings of the review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission of the recommendations of its formal inquiry into older people and human rights in home care.The report of the review was published in October 2013.The original inquiry (‘Close to home’, November 2011),identified a number of systematic risks to the human rights of older people using home care and made 25 recommendations – some directed at local authorities, others to national bodies.

The review findings suggest that home care commissioning practices may be increasing human rights risks to older people. Many local authorities still commission 15 minute visits for personal care and contract prices often do not seem to cover the true costs of services, including paying the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers’ travel time.Other recommendations assessed by the review included whether authorities have addressed barriers to making complaints, and whether they have checked their policies and practices - including Resource Allocation Systems - for age bias.

Finally, the article summarises two practical suggestions from the review report.Human rights protection for service users can be strengthened by building ‘third party rights’ clauses into local authorities’ contracts with providers.In addition, contracts can contain a schedule requiring the contractor to pay the NMW to all eligible employees.

The full version of this article appears in issue 1 of 2014 of Elder Law Journal. If you subscribe to the journal please click here to read the full article.

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