Jiwan Raheja on ‘Joining-up social care policy-making and human rights’

Joining-up social care policy-making and human rights

Of late much has been made of a crisis in social care.  Its current cost has become a focus of attention with predictions that care, as we have known it, will become unaffordable.  These concerns appear in several forms – the need to encourage healthy eating and exercise to prevent demands on the health service of treating type 2 diabetes, or that, before too long, there will be too few younger people paying taxes to care for the growing numbers of their elders.

Such matters have been exacerbated by shrinking resources at the local level.  Councils have sought more competitive contracting out to help reduce drive costs.  This relentless search for savings forces even more difficult choices on councils, care providing organisations and the staff they employ.

Hackney Council agreed to participate in the research project commissioned by Roehampton University to road test the Fundamental Rights Agency’s Toolkit.  The first stage is a staff-training programme to develop policy with a human rights perspective using the toolkit structured as follows:

  • Day 1: How can human rights assist policy-making and improve service delivery – Overview of legal basis and framework
  • Day 2: What’s in the toolkit?
  • Day 3: Why is it important to engage beneficiaries, colleagues and partners in working together to achieve results?
  • Day 4: How to undertake a stakeholder mapping?
  • Day 5: Working through case studies, good practice examples, and networking

We still know little about the organisational challenges for management, structure, culture and politics.  The second stage will therefore explore the opportunities and barriers to embed learning in the policy making process. This is where the joined-up approach advocated by FRA becomes important.

The toolkit remains un-tested within the UK but this project aims to put that right. We envisage two clear outcomes:

  • An authority trained in human rights approaches
  • Practitioner focused and academic papers on human rights, policy making and management to help others

In partnership with Roehampton University, Jiwan will be producing these papers as the project develops and would like to explore the implications for colleagues in the public and community and voluntary sectors using the ‘Beyond 2015’ portal.  Let her know your thoughts.

Jiwan Raheja

jivan.raheja@hotmail.co.uk