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Conventions, legislations, regulations, codes of practice

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European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms (1990) – This is a European document relating to human rights; it is signed by all government in the European Union, including the UK. Sex discrimination act (1975) – This protects both men and women against discrimination or harassment on the grounds of gender in employment, education, and advertising or in the provision of housing, goods, services or facilities. Mental health act (1983) – The main purpose of this Act is to allow action to be taken to make sure that people with mental health difficulties or learning difficulties get the care and treatment they need for their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people. Mental health (Northern Ireland) order (1986) – This order provides the legal framework in Northern Ireland for compulsory admission and treatment of patients suffering from mental illness. GPs can be involved in Mental Health Order assessments in community or hospital settings. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – This is issued by UNICEF for the framework for the rights of the child. It protects specific children’s rights in international law. These rights include principles and standards for the treatment of children worldwide.

The Children Act (1989) – This is a UK Act for the protection of the child from significant harm. It ensures that the child is supported, safe and cared for, by setting standards. Disability Discrimination Act (1995) – The disability discrimination act ensures civil rights for people with disabilities and protects them from any form of discrimination. It encourages organisations and health authorities to overcome barriers and make reasonable adjustments to ensure full accessibility. Human Rights Act (1998) – This covers all human rights and ensures that all individuals have rights on their side and can take legal action against any person or organisation (including health and social care services) that disrespects their human rights. Data Protection Act (1998) – This act covers the way information about living identifiable persons is used and protected. All organisations holding personal data must apply the act. This is obviously extremely in the health and social care sector. Race Relations Act (2000) – This act protects racial equality and ensures that no person is discriminated against on the grounds of their race.

It promotes good relations between people of different ethnic backgrounds. Care Standards Act (2000) – This covers the care of individuals in all types of settings, including domiciliary, fostering and family care, as well as residential and nursing care. Standards have to be met to ensure the individual is at the centre of the care being given. Nursing and Residential Care Homes Regulations (1984, amended 2002) – This applies to nursing and residential care homes. They have to apply to their local council for a licence to operate, which regulates their practices. If the homes do not meet the regulations, the council can prosecute them, and, in extreme circumstances, close them down. The Children Act (2004) – This act provides legislation to improve children’s lives in the broader sense. This covers all the services that every child accesses, including additional needs. Its aim is to encourage better services and provision for all aspects of children’s welfare and health. Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) (2005) – This updated the 1995 DDA and specifically applies to the public sector, to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities and to eliminate discrimination. It includes people with HIV.

It also states that public bodies must promote disability equality and will have to produce action plans explaining how they intend to fulfil their duties, and review their progress annually, and that universities and colleges must make reasonable changes to their premises to make them more user-friendly for Britain’s students with disabilities. This duty is anticipatory, meaning that public authorities will have to review all their policies, practices, procedures and services to make sure they do not discriminate against people with disabilities and ensure that all their services are planned with their needs fully considered in advance. Mental Capacity Act (2005) – This act provides a framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. It states clearly who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. It enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose their mental capacity. People who are placed under a duty to have regard to this act include those working in a professional capacity such as doctors and social workers. Age Discrimination Act (2006) – Since this act was passed, it has been unlawful for employers and others to discriminate against a person on the basis of his/her age. This applies to jobs, promotion, training and employment.

Equality Act (2010) – The Equality Act 2010 is the law which bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society. The act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies. This makes the law easier for people to understand and comply with. The act also strengthened protection in some situations. The act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. For public authorities at least there is a duty to consider quality in all decision making processes. Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion/belief, sex, sexual orientation are all protected characteristics. Code of Practice

The code of practice for Social Care Workers is a list of statements that describe the standards of professional conduct and practice required of social workers. The aim is to confirm the standards required in social care and ensure workers know what standards of conduct employers, colleagues, service users, carers and the public expect of them. Social Care Workers must:

•Protect the rights and promote the interests of service users and carers;
•Strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers;
•Promote the independence of service users while protecting them as far as possible from danger or harm;
•Respect the rights of service users whilst seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people;
•Uphold public trust and confidence in social care services;
•Be accountable for the quality of their work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills. As a social care worker, you must protect the rights and promote the interests of service users and carers. This includes:

•Treating each person as an individual;
•Respecting and, where appropriate, promoting the individual views and wishes of both service users and carers;
•Supporting service users’ rights to control their lives and make informed choices about the services they receive;
•Respecting and maintaining the dignity and privacy of service users;
•Promoting equal opportunities for service users and carers;
•Respecting diversity and different cultures and values

Social Care Workers do this by:
•Protect the rights and promote the interests of service users and carers;
•By treating each person as an individual; respecting and promoting the individual views and wishes of both service users and carers; supporting service users’ rights to control their lives and make informed choices about the services they receive; respecting and maintaining the dignity and privacy of service users; promoting equal opportunities for service users and carers; and respecting diversity, different cultures and values. •Strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers;
•By being honest and trustworthy; communicating in an appropriate, straightforward way; respecting confidential information and clearly explaining agency policies about confidentiality to service users and carers; being reliable and dependable; honouring work commitments, agreements and arrangements and, when it is not possible to do so, explaining why to service users and carers; declaring issues that might create conflicts of interest and making sure that they do not influence your judgement or practice; and adhering to policies and procedures about accepting gifts and money from service users and carers.
•Promote the independence of service users while protecting them as far as possible from danger or harm;
•By assisting them to understand and exercise their rights; using procedures to challenge and report dangerous, discriminatory behaviour and practice; following practice and procedures designed to keep them and other people safe from violent and abusive behaviour at work; bringing to the attention of their employer or the appropriate authority resource or operational difficulties that might get in the way of the delivery of safe care; Informing their employer or an appropriate authority where the practice of colleagues may be unsafe or adversely affecting standards of care; Complying with employers’ health and safety policies, including those relating to substance abuse; helping service users and carers to make complaints, taking complaints seriously and responding to them or passing them to the appropriate person: and recognising and using responsibly the power that comes fro
m their work with service users and carers.
•Respect the rights of service users whilst seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people;
•Recognising that service users have the right to take risks and helping them to identify and manage potential and actual risks to themselves and others; following risk assessment policies and procedures to assess whether the behaviour of service users presents a risk of harm to themselves or others; taking necessary steps to minimise the risks of service users from doing actual harm to themselves or other people; and ensuring that relevant colleagues and agencies are informed about the outcomes and implications of risk assessments.

•Uphold public trust and confidence in social care services;
•In particular they must not, abuse, neglect or harm service users, carers or colleagues; exploit service users, carers or colleagues in any way; abuse the trust of service users and carers or the access you have to personal information about them or to their property, home or workplace; form inappropriate personal relationships with service users; discriminate unlawfully or unjustifiably against service users, carers or colleagues; condone any unlawful discrimination by service users, carers or colleagues; put yourself or other people at unnecessary risk; or behave in a way, in work or outside work, which would call into question their suitability to work in social care services.
•Be accountable for the quality of their work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills.
•By meeting relevant standards of practice and working in a lawful, safe and effective way; maintaining clear and accurate records as required by procedures established for their work; Informing their employer or the appropriate authority about any personal difficulties that might affect their ability to do their job competently and safely; seeking assistance from their employer or the appropriate authority if they do not feel about or adequately prepared to carry out any aspect of their work, or they are not sure about how to proceed in a work matter; working openly and co-operatively with colleagues and treating them with respect; recognising that they remain responsible for the work that they have delegated to other workers; recognising and respecting the roles and expertise of workers from other agencies and working in partnership with them; and undertaking relevant training to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills and contributing to the learning and development of others. Charters:

As we have seen, most organisations have charters that inform staff and those using the service about what they can expect. The Care Quality Commission which is the body that regulates standards in health and social care on behalf of the government will use the relevant charter as a starting point when they review an organisation. Conventions:

The UN Convention for disabled people has a purpose this purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Here is an example of anti-discriminatory practice using UN Convention and the Human Rights Act 1998: A disabled couple had been denied full housing benefits, a successful case was brought under article 14 of the European Convention on Human rights and the family were able to receive the benefit that they needed to support themselves and their family. It was argued that the council had discriminated against the family on the grounds of their disability and therefore the Burni family were able to use the HRA and the UN Convention to win their case. The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.

The convention was brought about in 1953. Any person who feels his or her rights have been violated under the convention by a state party can take a case to court. The establishment of a Court to protect individuals from human rights violations is a useful feature for an international convention on human rights, as it gives the individual an active role on the international arena. The European Convention is still the only international human rights agreement providing such a high degree of individual protection. Article 14 contains a prohibition of discrimination. It prohibits discrimination under a potentially unlimited number of grounds. The article specifically prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status, sexual orientation. Regulations:

The Nursing and Residential care homes Regulations 1984 (amended 2002) Care and nursing homes were regulated by the local authorities (councils). The council made sure that their practice met certain standards. If these were not met they could be closed down. This was built on in 2002 after the introduction of the Care Standards Act 2000. Under the Care Standards Act 2000 there has been a total reform of the regulations governing residential and nursing homes. The Act provides for the regulation of the social care workforce, by establishing a General Social Care Council (GSCC) for England. These councils regulate the training of social workers and raise standards in social care through codes of conduct and practice and through other means. There is now a new Health and Social Care act 2008; this gives greater protection under the Human Rights Act. It established a Care Quality Commission (CQC). Organisational Policies:

There are many types of policies and many different things that an organisation can use to put into place equal opportunities and to show that it is actively promoting individual rights and anti-discriminatory practice, equality and diversity. The main policy that organisations have/ need is the Equal Opportunities Policy to promote equality. The policy needs a plan that will show it being put into action and that it will be monitored which is vital because an organisation needs to know that its policy is working and achieving its aim so by monitoring the policy it can be changed and adapted when needed. Policies are important because everyone knows what to expect and so we can claim rights and insure that the setting has a good practice also it places responsibility on management to ensure that they have fully trained staff. Other types of policy include; bullying and inclusion. You can believe in something or have an opinion that is racist or homophobic but as long as you don’t put that into practice it is ok. If you are a student or a member of staff you cannot bully, be sexist or discriminate against anybody because they policy guides your behaviour. They show what our rights and responsibilities are clearly. Example:

Parsonage Farm Nursery Policy:
•Everyone has the right to be given equal worth irrespective of religion, race, ethnic group, colour, sexual orientation or disability.

•If a parent visits the nursery looking to enrol their child and want to know what they can expect the nursery will talk them through their policy to make sure they understand what standard they will get.

•If they find evidence of discrimination the nursery will challenge what is happening to make sure their policy is upheld.

M2: Assess how one national policy initiative that you have explained in P4 influences promoting anti-discriminatory practice: Here is an assessment of how the DDA influences the promotion of anti-discriminatory practice. The Disability Discrimination Act which has now become incorporated into the Equality Act says all disabled children and adults have the right under the DDA to be included in mainstream pre- and post-16 education, and to have their access requirements met. Educational establishments have a duty to include disabled people, make provision for their access requirements, and remove or minimise physical, attitudinal and organisational barriers which may prevent disabled people from learning and competing on equal terms with non-disabled students. All employers now have a duty not to discriminate against a disabled person in, Recruitment and Retention, Promotion and Transfers, Training and Development and the Dismissal Process. If a disabled person applies for a job or an employee becomes disabled, an employer must consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace or conditions of employment. Such adjustments might include:

•Adjusting the workplace
•Re-allocating duties
•Altering working hours
•Allowing absence for treatment
•A transfer to a more appropriate job
•Re-assignment to a different place of work
•Providing personal support (e.g. a reader) and/or equipment (e.g.
adaptations to computer equipment)
•Modifying equipment and instruction manuals
•Provision of training and/or retraining

D1: Evaluate the success of a recent initiative in promoting anti-discriminatory practice The Disability Discrimination Act has had a massive impact on disabled people’s lives in so many ways, however even though this act has severely impacted disabled people’s lives for the better it will not remove all inequality for people with disabilities mainly for the reason that new generations are not being taught about people that are different from themselves or that they deserve just as many life chances as everybody else excluding the limiting factors of their disability. Many organisations such as the NHS have become much more equal in the sense that they quite willingly hire and treat those with disabilities with no prejudices or discrimination towards them. Even adaptations are being made in work places and facilities for those with disabilities e.g. ramps outside buildings, wider doorways, providing a specially adapted keyboard for a visually impaired person or someone with arthritis, providing a support worker such as a hearing assistant, allowing the disabled person to be absent during working hours for assessment or treatment for example, to attend physiotherapy, therapy or hospital appointments.

All of these adjustments aid those with disabilities to have the same chances as those who don’t. Even though the DDA is around it is ensured that the adjustments for disabled people is put into place however until people have a better understanding or take away their prejudices there will still be discrimination against disabled people. A recent article produced by the Daily Mail has said that “Almost a quarter of disabled people are still regularly suffering from discrimination, a charity said today. Leonard Cheshire Disability said there were ‘shockingly high’ levels of discrimination despite the presence of the Disability Discrimination Act. The charity said common complaints included difficulty in using public transport, a lack of user-friendly facilities and not enough information being made available for disabled people.” Ref: Daily Mail 14/04/10 Here is my own example of discrimination still around today: Alex’s mother has rheumatoid arthritis and has a disabled badge so she can park in the disabled bays. She gets a lot of grief for using these bays from old people in particular because she is young and they just automatically assume she is unrightfully taking the space. On several occasions she has been confronted by elderly people being extremely hostile towards her as they seem to think the blue badge is for the elderly only.

Nadine who is hearing impaired (deaf) applies for a job – she has ticked the disability box on the application form and discussed her needs with her new employer. The job is in a NHS children’s clinic working as an admin assistant. She gets the job – but after the three month trial she is told she is not being kept on because she has failed to carry out all the duties effectively. When she asks for more information about this she is told she did not answer the telephone to book appointments. The reason Nadine did not do this was because the telephone had not been adapted for a person with a hearing impairment & she had flagged this up at interview as something that needed to be done if she was to carry out the full range of clerical duties. This is a clear case of failure to adapt the work environment to meet the needs of a disabled person & is against the law. Disabled people face a range of barriers in choice and controlling their own lives and to access goods and services, although there are examples of where these barriers have been overcome. Access to transport has a particularly important role in facilitating disabled people’s access to goods and services. Improving disabled people’s access to transport is likely to improve the amount of choice and control they can use and enable access to goods and services.

Barriers to education, training and employment could change to help to improve perceptions of disabled people. Gaining access to education, training or employment was regarded as a way to regain control by increasing aspirations and confidence and opening further opportunities. It is important to ensure those who are eligible to receive different forms of financial support (such as bursaries for education or subsidised taxi fares) are aware it is available, as this may help to address some of the financial strains experienced by some disabled people to participate in different activities. Providing appropriate levels of financial support enables participation in activities where more strained financial barriers are experienced, such as education and training, transport and access to leisure, social and cultural activities. Some disabled people may not think about what support, equipment and adaptations could enable participation and may instead assume instead that certain activities are not available to them. This may be the result of lack of appropriate information, which if addressed could improve perceptions of disabled people. Inappropriate attitudes and behaviour can have a negative impact on disabled people’s perceptions of choice, control of accessing goods and services. Raising public awareness of disability issues and improving disability awareness training for those involved in providing goods and services could support in removing the barriers experienced by disabled people, with a positive impact on people’s perceptions.

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