Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Human Rights implications

Audit commission, Public Sector, National Report: Improving Public Service Delivery

Because of the Human Rights Act, when public authorities are considering whether to take an action (or not to act), they should ask themselves:

1. Do I have a lawful power to do (or not to do) this?

2. Is what I am doing proportionate i.e. do the aims justify the means?

3. What is my objective? Is it relevant and necessary?

4. Is there an alternative course of (in)action which impacts less on rights while achieving the same aim?

5. Do I need to act now, or can it wait?

6. Is there a record of my reasoning, either for future reference in rights-related
situations, or in the event of a query about the current situation?

Public bodies that fail to consider human rights implications in their consultation processes have been ordered by the courts to remedy this by repeating the processes incorporating human rights elements (R (Madden) v Bury Metropolitan Council 2002).

Public authorities must ensure that their decision making processes take into account individuals’ human rights (R (Robertson) v Wakefield Metropolitan Council 2002) and (R (K) Newham London Borough 2002).

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