Our Human Rights Inquiry

An overwhelming majority of the British people support legislation protecting their human rights and where a human rights approach is incorporated into public services both users and providers benefit, the Human Rights Inquiry has found.

According to an Ipsos MORI survey of almost 2,000 adults commissioned as part of the Inquiry, 84 per cent of people said they wanted human rights enshrined in the law for themselves and their families and 81 per cent of people saw human rights as important to creating a fairer society.

Read the Ipsos MORI survey "Public perceptions of human rights" (PDF)

In the first major study into how far public sector authorities have adopted a rights based approach to delivering services, the Inquiry found that where human rights were put at the heart of the delivery of public services, they delivered successful results. Today’s report makes a number of recommendations to help embed human rights in the public sector. They include:

  • Encouraging those in leadership roles in public authorities to help ensure their staff prioritise human rights. This could include the appointment of ‘human rights champions’ in the public sector.
  • The provision of better information, advice, training and more targeted resources for the appropriate bodies in the public sector. The Commission will explore options for working with various public bodies to provide more targeted advice and guidance on how human rights can be effectively applied to the services they deliver.
  • Helping public authorities and voluntary groups to put a human rights approach at the heart of their decision-making processes, strategies and business plans. The Commission is recommending that the Government consults on whether or not a statutory “human rights duty” should be brought in alongside the existing public sector duties.
  • The Government should review whether the Commission should be allowed to provide legal assistance to members of the public in cases involving only human rights legislation.

The Human Rights Inquiry was launched in April 2008, under our statutory powers, to find out how human rights work in Britain. We've spent the last year looking at the issues. In addition to traditional in-depth research, public polling and focus group work, we convened a series of public evidence sessions to hear from witnesses.

The video montage below gives an insight into four of the Case Studies. You can watch a more detailed video and find out more about each in the case study pages.

Last Updated: 30 Jun 2014