Joint Committee On Human Rights Sixth Report

78. Memorandum from Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Chief Executive, the King's Fund

  I am replying to your letter of 19 December 2002.

  Your Committee is seeking further evidence about human fights issues arising for the groups or individuals whom the King's Fund represents or to whom we provide services. Those groups or individuals with whom we have direct dealings mainly comprise people (most of them from the NHS) who come on our education programmes, our grant holders and anyone who commissions work from us about health and health care policy issues. I can't think of human rights issues which arise in the context of these direct working relationships.

  The King's Fund does, additionally, have a good general vantage point for observing health and health care issues, especially in London. However, although we are observers and analysers of the scene and have much information, it is not currently kept in ways which would make it easy to examine a specific human rights dimension. This would be a large project which would need to compete with other calls on our resources and could certainly not be done by your deadline of 17 January.

  I hope this does not sound negative. The King's Fund trustees have never had cause to adopt a formal stance on the Human Resources Act 1998. However, I am sure the Fund would wish to be broadly supportive of its underlying principles. For my own part I think that the proposed consolidation of the present commissions into a single equalities body would have many merits. I take the point expressed in the British Institute of Human Rights report you have also copied to me that the human rights of different groups or minorities may need to be effectively integrated or may clash and that such clashes, whether real or apparent, may need to be resolved. The law is still evolving in this area and the role for a separate human rights commission can only emerge fully over time. If there is a possibility of adding human rights as a dimension to the work of a single equalities body, that might be a better initial step than setting up a separate commission when the need has yet to be clearly defined.

10 January 2003

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