Closing the Gap: priorities for essential change in mental health was published on 20 January 2014.
The document sets out 25 priorities for change. It details how changes in local service planning and delivery will make a difference to the lives of people with mental health problems in the next 2 or 3 years.
In December 2013 the Council of the European Union adopted its conclusions on the effectiveness of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women and gender equality (PDF).
Among them, the need for Member States ‘to ensure that bodies for the promotion, analysis, monitoring and support of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of sex, in particular those bodies whose remit covers discrimination on several grounds, while fulfilling their independent functions as prescribed by relevant EU directives, devote sufficient attention to combating discrimination on the ground of sex and promoting equal treatment for women and men, and regularly assess the share of financial and personnel resources dedicated for this work.’
In October 2013, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published Shared Understandings: a new EHRC strategy to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, which built on previous EHRC research, policy and legal work in this area.
Over the next three years, this strategy is being implemented through a programme of work.
Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP), launched on 10 December 2013 (Human Rights Day), sets out key commitments from government, civil society and the private sector, all aimed at improving human rights protection in Scotland.
On Human Rights Day 2013, The Welsh Government announced its plans for a public consultation on proposals for a Declaration of the Rights of Older People.
The Declaration of the Rights of Older People, a first for Wales if adopted, will clearly highlight and articulate the rights of older people in Wales, as underpinned by existing legislation.
On 9 December 2013, all 28 EU countries committed to implementing a set of recommendations, proposed by the European Commission, to step up the economic and social integration of Roma communities.
The Council Recommendation was adopted unanimously by ministers meeting in the Council less than six months after the Commission’s proposal. It is the first ever EU-level legal instrument for Roma inclusion.
The Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the EU countries gives specific guidance to help EU countries strengthen and accelerate their efforts. It
- recommends that EU countries take targeted action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population and
- reinforces the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies agreed by all EU countries in 2011 by setting the conditions for an effective inclusion of Roma people in the EU countries.
In December 2013, the Scottish government published a strategy for the support and integration of refugees and asylum-seekers.
New Scots: Integrating Refugees in Scotland’s Communities 2014-2017 (PDF) was developed in partnership with a range of support agencies and aims to provide a framework for co-ordinating effort and maximising impact and resources.
The work of the strategy all takes place within the context of the public sector equality duty.
Katherine Hill, Age UK’s Strategy Adviser for Equality and Human Rights, blogs about the amendment in the Care Bill we’re supporting to protect human rights.
Read more on Age UK’s Care in Crisis blog about how the Care Bill is an opportunity to make rights real for everyone using care services.
On 6 November 2013, the Court of Appeal upheld a legal challenge by five disabled people against the Government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which intervened in the case, issued a press release welcoming the ruling and Inclusion London also welcomed the ruling.
In November 2013, the Government published its action plan setting out how government will take forward the recommendations of the Women’s Business Council Report.
In June 2013, the Women’s Business Council published its report to government. This document sets out how the government will take forward the report’s findings and recommendations through a number of actions including:
- Improved guidance on careers which will include raising aspirations and challenging stereotypes
- Help for parents to ensure their children make well-informed career and subject choices
- A new drive on science, technology and engineering, building on “Tomorrow’s Engineers week” which is taking place this week
- Support for those with caring responsibilities to stay in work where they wish or to set up their own small business
- A new business champion for older workers