Human Rights and Self-Directed Support.
The principles which lie at the heart of the Scottish Self-Directed Support Bill are inherently about equality and human rights. Self-Directed Support seeks to embed in practice the principles of greater choice and control. It seeks to give those who use services in Scotland greater influence upon the services they receive.
Many readers will be aware of the work undertaken by Kavita Chetty, John Dalrymple and Henry Simmons in trying to draw up a framework for human rights to be at the heart of personalisation and self-directed support. See their paper at http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/application/resources/documents/Finalpersonalisation2012.pdf
Chetty et al are right in indicating that the roots of personalisation and self- directed support have many ties to the disability, mental health survivor and service user movements of the 1970’s. There is therefore a strong influence from the disability civil and human rights movements, especially from the United States and Canada. The famous disability Values for Inclusion are a close relation to key human rights articles and principles, they are namely:
‘Every one is born in
We are all born as equal citizens and part of a community, we are only later excluded.
All means all
Everyone capable of breathing, even if breathing requires support, is entitled to be included – no-one is too difficult, too old, too poor or too disabled to qualify.
Everyone needs to be in
If people are physically excluded, they have to be physically included. Judith Snow talks about presence being the first criteria for inclusion – if you’re not there no-one will know you’re missing.
Everyone needs to be with
Being there is necessary – but being with takes time and effort. A community is not just a locality – it is a network of connections and relationships. We have to help people be part of and belong to communities, not just be lonely residents within them or day visitors to them.
Everyone is ready
No-one has to pass a test or meet a set of criteria to be eligible – everyone is ready to be part of community now and it is community’s task to find ways of including them.
Everyone needs support ~ some need more support than others
No-one is fully independent and independence isn’t our goal. We are working towards inter-dependence and differing degrees and kinds of support at different times.
Everyone can communicate
Just because someone can’t or won’t use words to communicate doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to say – everyone can communicate and we have to work harder at hearing, seeing, understanding and feeling what people are communicating to us and communicating back.
Everyone can contribute
Each person has their own gifts and strengths – and each person has a unique contribution to make. Our task is to recognise, encourage and value each person’s contribution – including our own!
Everyone can learn
We believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to learn new things, grow as individuals and develop to their full potential. Everyone can learn and we all can become better teachers.
Together we are better
We do not believe the world would be a better place if everyone is the same. We are not dreaming of a world when all differences are eradicated and all disabilities are cured – we believe that diversity does bring strength and that we can all learn and grow by knowing one another.’
There are some further core values inherent within personalisation and SDS which link well with human rights principles in application as well as principle, namely
- Power is with the Person not the Professional.
- Real and meaningful choice not limited options.
- Emphasis on connection and relationship.
- Building personal relatedness and social capacity.
- Enabling greater community support models.
- Inclusion and contribution.
- Control and direction of the process by the person.
- Transparency, honesty and open accountability.
- A willingness to positively address conflict
- Creative solution and support design.
(See John O’Brien: Five Service Accomplishments for further info.)
So there is potential for a close relationship between the values inherent within SDS, namely and human rights principles such as FREDA.
The challenge comes in the application of that value base and set of principles in any service solution.
In future blogs we will consider what are some of the practical challenges to embedding human rights and equality at the heart of Self-Directed Support.
If these themes interest you why not come to the free People as Partners workshop on human rights and self-directed support. Information here.