Human rights explained – 2-minute animation

RightsInfo aim is to bring human rights to life using infographics, stories and social media. The project is the brainchild of leading barrister Adam Wagner, founder of the UK Human Rights Blog.

UK Human Rights Blog believes human rights in the UK have an image problem. The public debate is based on misinformation and lack of understanding. Laws and judgments are aimed at specialists. This means that most people are ambivalent or negative towards human rights.

“That is where RightsInfo comes in. We believe there is huge potential to do a better job at explaining why human rights matter and how they can change people’s lives. RightsInfo is about using social media to find new ways to talk about and deliver human rights stories and information.”

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New – The Festival Year Calendar 2016

festival-year-2016The Justposters Festival Year for 2016 is now available, with its distinctive spiral calendar, details the festivals and celebrations of twelve of the world’s Faiths and Beliefs. It’s available in either paper or laminated form. Laminated means your poster is protected, on both sides, by a thin sheet of film providing a glossy sealed finish. This clear lamination gives an extremely good level of protection to your poster, cost effectively prolonging its life.

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Turban workplace rule removed

sikhsNew rules recently introduced by the government mean that Sikhs no longer have to wear head protection in any workplaces. Sikhs working in the construction industry have been exempted from rules requiring head protection since 1989, but those working in less dangerous industries, such as factories and warehouses, were not. This meant that Sikhs in many jobs who chose to wear turbans rather than the required head protection could be at risk of disciplinary action or even dismissal.

Following a new clause introduced in the Deregulation Bill 2015 the Employment Act, turban-wearing Sikhs now have the right to choose not to wear head protection and are exempt from legal requirements to wear a safety helmet in all workplaces. There are exclusions for emergency response services and the military. The exclusion does not bar Sikhs from the armed forces or police and fire services. If a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear the head protection provided, employers are legally protected through the extension of limited liability.

Neil Todd of Thompsons Solicitors commented “The changes to the legislative provisions follow a long campaign by various Sikh groups. It should now increase the number of workplaces that members of the Sikh community can work at whilst maintaining their religiously mandated identity.”

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Number of learning disabled people in hospital care remains high – Why?

LD people hospitalThe number of people with learning disabilities in hospital placements has remained virtually unchanged for six months despite a national push to move them into community settings. The latest Health & Social Care Information Centre figures for England show there were 2,600 inpatients with learning disabilities at the end of August, almost unchanged since March 2015 when the number was 2,640.

The lack of change in the figures comes despite the work of the government’s Transforming Care programme introduced in 2012 in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal with the express goal of reducing the use of inpatient care for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and additional mental health needs.

The original target of ending inappropriate hospital placements by June 2014 was widely missed, forcing a reassessment of the programme in the latter part of last year. Now, expectations are more modest. NHS England, which is leading on the programme, has a target of reducing inpatient numbers by 10% on the 1 April 2015 figure.

Rob Greig, chief executive of the National Development Team for Inclusion and the former government learning disability director, said the lack of progress raises questions about whether the focus of the Transforming Care programme has been right. “The rhetoric from a national level has been about what we do about the 2,600 or so people who are in these units and how there must be services planned to get those individuals out,” he said. “That’s true, but it completely misses the point that people find themselves in these services because of the failure of local community based services in the first place.”

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Union wins travelling time case in European court

homecare travelLarge numbers of workers, Including home care workers, could be entitled to more pay or a reduction in hours after the European court of justice ruled that travel to and from some jobs could be counted as part of a working day. In a judgment which takes effect immediately, the Luxembourg-based court said this should be the case for staff without a fixed or regular workplace who generally travel from home to and from a variety of locations.

Trade unions said the decision could bring significant benefits for care workers or other Britons whose job generally involves travel between appointments without an office base. Some employment lawyers said the decision could increase costs for some companies.

The case was brought by a Spanish trade union against Tyco, a multinational fire and security company which closed its network of regional offices in Spain in 2011. Staff now travel from home to install security systems, with the first appointment of the day sometimes three hours’ drive away, time currently treated by the company as a “rest period”, the judges noted.

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Local authorities to be inspected on special educational need provision

SEN ResourcesLocal authorities will be inspected specifically on their special educational needs provision from May 2016. For the first time Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will inspect local authorities – as well as nurseries, schools, further education and health services – on how they identify and support children and young people with special educational needs, it was announced today. The two watchdogs are consulting on the proposals until early January.

These inspections will include a closer look at mental health services, language therapy and physiotherapy provision for children with specialist needs.

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for education, said the watchdog would look carefully at how local areas identified the needs of young people. “We will want to see evidence that the children and young people are progressing well, to their next stage of education or employment. Effective local area support is crucial for these children and young people who really need them.”
The consultation closes on 4 January 2016.

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Vulnerable teenagers forced out of accommodation and into crisis

vulnerable teensA thousand vulnerable teenagers across the country are being evicted from accommodation provided by their local authority or made to leave at short notice every year, new research from The Children’s Society reveals. The charity’s report, On Your Own Now: The risks of unsuitable accommodation for older teenagers, surveyed 119 housing providers used by local authorities to house vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds. It found that half had either evicted or asked a child to move at short notice due to them getting behind on their rent and other bills, or factors like unemployment, violence or drugs.

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said: “It is unacceptable that children are being evicted from the very places intended to keep them safe and prepare them for adulthood, often simply as a result of getting behind on bills or lacking the support they need to cope. Instead many are being denied the stability and safety they need…We know from our work with these children that whilst many housing providers give excellent support, too often older teens are being let down by the bodies that should be protecting them.”

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Nice criticises ‘flying home care visits’ as short as 5 minutes

indexStaff who undertake social care visits to 470,000 mainly elderly people a year must spend 30 minutes helping to keep them well, said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).It wants an end to the situation where many visits are so short and rushed that recipients have to choose between getting washed or dressed.

If adopted, Nice’s guidance would transform care that is vital to people’s safety, health, welfare and chances of avoiding falling ill and ending up in hospital. In its first ever guidance on social care, Nice says that contracts that local councils in England sign with social care providers should allow workers time to provide a good-quality service, including having enough time to talk to the person and their carer, and to travel between appointments.
Its advice won praise from organisations that help older and disabled people, but Nice also admitted the bleak outlook for social care funding, which has fallen in recent years as a result of councils having their budgets cut by an average of 40%, reduced the chances of their advice being implemented.
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NEW DVD Course – Equality, Dignity and Human Rights for healthcare professionals

DVD CoverCODE UK has launched a new DVD course Equality, Dignity and Human Rights for healthcare professionals. Presented by Making Waves, Ann Khambatta, the course is aimed at all health professionals working within primary care settings.
The course aims to increase the awareness and understanding of the way equality, dignity and human rights combine to meet the needs of those delivering and receiving primary care services.
The course also provides two hours of CPD and certificates for four people. £130.00 ex.VAT

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Under-18s should be treated as ‘children first’ by police officers

Police and young peoplePolice officers dealing with under-18s should treat them as “children first” rather than potential criminals, the organisation representing police chiefs has said. The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Children and Young People Strategy calls on officers to take into account their vulnerability when they deal with them.
A strategy document published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which replaced the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), sets out “key principles” for how officers should deal with young people. The document also calls on police to make efforts to identity the vulnerability of children and young people they deal with and respond effectively “in order to protect them from harm”.
“It is unusual for a young person to be a serious offender without being a victim of circumstance or offending themselves,” the document states.
Olivia Pinkney, Deputy Chief Constable for Sussex Police and the NPCC’s lead on children and young people, called on police to intervene early and prevent harm to children and young people.

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Channel Islands first Pride parade hosts thousands

Channel Islands Pride MarchThousands of people turned out for the Channel Islands first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride parade.
The event, organised by Guernsey-based campaign group Liberate, comes two weeks before the States of Jersey are due to vote on equal marriage.
Organiser Christian May said he was amazed at the support from the community and business.
He said: “Growing up an openly gay man I never thought I’d see anything like this in Jersey. I’m amazed at how far the island has come.”

Moving Up – Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders programme

Moving Up The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Leaders Programme was developed in recognition of the importance of having a more representative leadership profile in the adult social care workforce. It was developed by the National Skills Academy for Social Care (now merged with Skills for Care)
The Moving Up – BAME Programme is for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders who already have experience managing services; typically service managers, registered managers, heads of service (or equivalent) and operational managers who have the ambition and potential to progress to the most senior positions in social care.
Participants attend four London based learning network days and a review at the end of the programme in addition to one-to-one coaching sessions and a professional mentor.

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Pregnancy & maternity in the workplace campaign

Works for me logoThe Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) #worksforme campaign on managing pregnancy and maternity in the workplace was launched in July. The EHRC’s latest research shows that while many employers are supportive of women who are pregnant or on maternity leave, many women report discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal. Sadly not all businesses realise the benefits of recruiting and retaining working mums as their research has found. #worksforme campaign will be showcasing useful guidance aimed at making pregnancy and maternity work for everyone, whether employees or first time mums.

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Child’s disability benefit suspension breached human rights

Courts of Justice exteriorThe suspension of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) of a disabled child during his stay in hospital was in breach of the Human Rights Act, the Supreme Court has found. In a precedent-setting case, Cameron Mathieson’s family challenged the DLA regulations, which stop financial support when a child has spent more than 84 days in hospital.

Cameron spent more than two years in hospital with complex medical needs, and had his DLA stopped as a result. But after his death in 2012, at the age of five, his family continued their legal challenge against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They said the removal of benefits caused them financial hardship as they balanced being Cameron’s primary caregivers with looking after their other children.

The case is the first time that the Supreme Court has found in favour of a claimant in a social security case. The court’s decision has led charities Contact A Family and The Children’s Trust to urge the government to act urgently on the court’s ruling. They are calling for the government to issue guidance so that similar unlawful decisions are not made, and to scrap the DLA’s rule that a payment should stop when a child has been in hospital for more than 84 days.

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‘Charity’ by Damien Hirst

Charity sculpture by Damien HirstDamien Hirst’s ‘Charity’, a 22-foot bronze sculpture based on The Spastics Society (now ‘Scope’) collection boxes commonly found outside local chemists in the 1960s, was installed in front of the Gherkin on display in the City of London as part of Sculpture in the City 2015. Monumental yet vulnerable, the work plays on the art historical tradition of depicting the Virtue of Charity as a single female figure.
Hirst has long been a supporter of Scope, a charity that aims to improve the lives of disabled people in the UK. On the occasion of the installation, Alan Gosschalk, fundraising director at Scope, states: “‘Charity’ is an iconic piece of art. It is also a symbol of changing attitudes to disability over the past 50 years, since collection boxes like the one depicted in this sculpture were seen on high streets across the country…We hope that this sculpture will encourage conversations about disability amongst people in our capital.”

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UCL & Mencap – ‘Changing attitudes to learning disability’

Attitudes to those with learning disabilityThe report, ‘Changing attitudes to learning disability: A review of the evidence’, was written by Dr Katrina Scior and Dr Shirli Werner. It analyses what attitudes exist towards people with a learning disability and how negative attitudes are having a harmful effect on people’s lives. They also point to key actions that can be taken to improve how society treats people with a learning disability.

The report, published in August by Mencap and UCL (University College London), finds that there are many methods that have been successful in improving attitudes towards people with a learning disability, including:
• An increase in direct contact with people with a learning disability.
• Greater indirect contact via the positive media portrayals of learning disability.
• Fighting for the rights of people with a learning disability to have equal participation in education, employment, social and leisure pursuits.
• Education at an early age in schools on learning disability.

“Our understanding how to effectively challenge negative attitudes and behaviour towards children and adults with a learning disability is very poor. This paper brings together research from a wide range of sources, painting a clear picture of what we know about how to change attitudes in this field.” Dr Katrina Scior of UCL.

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First ever survey of children’s experiences of hospitals

children and hospitals imageAlmost 19,000 children and young people who stayed in hospital overnight or were seen as a day patient took part in the Care Quality Commission’s first children and young person’s survey.
The findings highlight that the vast majority of children and young people said they were happy with the care received, thought staff did everything possible to control their pain and they understood the information given to them by staff. However, children with physical or learning disabilities, or mental health needs reported poorer experiences of care than those without.
Nationally, the results from the 137 acute NHS trusts which took part in the survey shows:
• Almost three quarters of children and young people who have had surgery or a procedure received explanations about what had happened in a way that was easy for them to understand.

Some of the findings that indicated relatively poorer quality of care include:
• 43% of 12 to 15 year olds told us that they were not fully involved in decisions about their care.
• Almost one in three (32%) parents or carers said that staff were not always available when their child needed attention.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Edward Baker, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “There is much to celebrate in our first survey to ask children and young people about their care…However, there is marked variation between the results from individual hospitals. We have now inspected the majority of children’s hospital services in England, and those inspections have also shown marked variation in the quality of care provided.”

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Comment – Autism diagnosis crisis

Stand up for autism handprintFrom a blog by Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs and Social Change, The National Autistic Society.
“People on the autism spectrum and their families know what it’s like to wait. On average, people wait more than two years from asking to be assessed for autism to actually getting a diagnosis.
But at the moment, the health service just isn’t aware of all those people and families waiting. The Government and NHS England could tell every local area in England to keep a record of how long people wait. There are clear guidelines for every NHS area on how to track waiting times for hip operations, gynaecological appointments and plastic surgery. But not for autism assessments.
Today at The National Autistic Society we are asking for something very simple. We want autism diagnosis waiting times to be measured and published in the same way that the NHS measures and publishes all this other information.”

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Same-sex marriage referendum

On May 22nd Ireland voted in a referendum to approve changing the Constitution to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Voters made history as the republic became the first country whose electorate voted to legalise gay marriage. The referendum saw 62.1 percent of voters say “yes” to defining marriage as a union between two people regardless of their sex.

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Repeal of Human Rights Act on hold

Save Human Rights Act protestThe Government appeared to delay plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. While many of the Conservative manifesto commitments were in the legislative agenda, the Queen’s speech at the end of May said only that ‘proposals’ would be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights.
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “It is heartening that a Conservative Government committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act has at least paused for thought in its first Queen’s speech. There is a long struggle ahead but time is the friend of freedom. The more this new Parliament understands the value of the HRA for all of us in this United Kingdom and our reputation in the world- the more it is likely to understand how dangerous it would be to replace human rights with mere citizens’ privileges.”
However a number of concerning plans, trailed in advance of the speech, will be brought forward by the Government including: Investigatory Powers Bill; Extremism Bill and an Immigration Bill.
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