Human Rights Bill consultation: facilitator guide

We are gathering views to help inform how we will take forward the Human Rights Bill. This is a guide to help people hold their own group discussions about the Bill.

6. What will the Bill change about daily life?

Bringing new rights into Scots law should make a real difference to daily life over time. Making rights real requires a whole host of actions, from improvements in public services, to better access to justice, and a stronger human rights culture.

Progressive Realisation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Right to a Healthy Environment

Once the duty to comply has commenced, duty bearers will have to comply with certain rights. These are likely to be the economic, social, and cultural rights in the Bill as well as the right to a healthy environment.

We are considering how best to treat rights from the other treaties in a way which works clearly and accounts for devolution.

Making these rights real will require duty bearers to progressively realise these rights over time.

To do this, duty bearers will have to show they are taking steps to improve access to the rights by using as much of their resources as they have available to do so. They will also have to show they have not taken deliberate actions to reduce the enjoyment of the rights.

Delivery of Minimum Core Obligations

As well as improving these rights over time, the Bill will require duty bearers in Scotland to deliver a minimum core of the rights.

This refers to the most basic minimum level of meeting the right to ensure everyone's life is lived with dignity.

A minimum core of rights protection aims to ensure that people who are most disadvantaged in society have their most basic needs met.

The Taskforce recommended that the people of Scotland should be involved in working out what our minimum core standards should be.

To achieve this, the Bill proposes that a public process is set up so that people can tell us their views on setting the minimum standards for economic, social, and cultural rights as well as the right to a healthy environment in Scotland.

Access to Justice and Delivering Effective Remedies

We access our human rights every day. For example, using public services such as the NHS is how we access our right to adequate health. If something goes wrong and we are let down, we can be at risk that our rights are not upheld.

Our consultation sets out proposals to ensure access to justice and remedies for people. Our aim is for the Bill to deliver improved access to justice for human rights in Scotland. This includes making sure effective remedies are available when a right is not being met.

This means we want the options available to people when things go wrong to be easier, quicker, and more effective than they are now.

When things do go wrong, we want issues to be resolved as early, quickly, and effectively as possible without going to court, where that is possible and if it's the best thing to do.

We are also looking at what improvements might be made around people's access to information about rights, access to advice and access to advocacy.

We are open to views on the most effective means of supporting people to access the rights in the Bill.

Our key aim is to improve access to justice in the context of the Bill and ensure that services are equipped to provide the support rights-holders need.

We are also looking at how we could improve front-line complaints handling mechanisms of public bodies so that they can deal with complaints related to the Bill.

We are also looking to develop complaints handling for bodies that deal with escalated complaints, such as the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) so that they too can deal with complaints related to the Bill.

If issues do need to go to court, we want to help reduce the burden this places on people seeking to resolve their issues.

It should be easier for issues that affect many people to be identified as a common problem and resolved in such a way that the issue stops happening again to other people.

The consultation also asks for views on new powers for the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

The SHRC is an independent body accountable to the Scottish Parliament. It promotes human rights in Scotland and encourages best practice in relation to human rights.

We want to make sure the SHRC can play a key role in protecting and realising human rights.

We also want to create a clearer human rights remit for scrutiny bodies with an interest in human rights, such as some inspectorates and regulators, so that they can ensure the rights in the Bill are built into public services.

Improving the Human Rights Culture in Scotland

Making rights real requires us all to work together towards building and nurturing a human rights culture in Scotland.

Our aim is for the Bill to help build a better human rights culture across different sectors of society so that public bodies and private bodies delivering public services, as well as all individuals and groups, share the common goal of realising the human rights of everyone in Scotland.

To help build this culture, we propose using a multi-institutional approach.

This means bodies in Scotland with roles delivering public services are united in placing human rights at the heart of their decision-making.

It also means that the Scottish Parliament has a key role to play in checking that new laws properly protect and advance our human rights.

A stronger human rights culture will help tackle the sense people have of needing to 'fight against the system' to access their rights.

Achieving this will require a range of actions including providing guidance for duty bearers, improving human rights education, public campaigns to raise awareness of new rights and duties, and training for public officials.

It will also require improved access to information on human rights, creating more chances for the public to have a say in decisions about the services they use to access their rights, and better accountability when things go wrong.

Building a better human rights culture in Scotland is about empowering people to know their rights, know how to claim their human rights, and to be supported by duty bearers to do so.

Potential questions for facilitation

1. What do you think about our proposals for a basic minimum standard and progressive realisation of the rights in the Bill?

2. What do you think needs to happen where something goes wrong and your right is not upheld?

3. Who should help you resolve the problem and what should they do to help you?

4. What information and support do you think would help you if you have a problem with your rights?

5. How can organisations work better together to help uphold everyone’s rights?



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