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We publish our fourth Equality and Human Rights Casebook

The Casebook contains a selection of cases considered by us over the last year which involved equality and human rights considerations.

In 2021/22, we considered 59 such cases. The selection presented in the Casebook relates mainly to health, but several cases concern social care and housing.

Several cases in this Casebook relate directly to the measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect public health. Three cases concern the application of the ‘Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ (DNACPR) procedure and one concerns the rules around face-covering exemptions.

The publication also includes several cases where equality duties may have been engaged. Those concern mainly how public services providers considered reasonable adjustments to disabled people.

Michelle Morris, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said:

Promotion of equality and human rights is everybody’s business.

As the Ombudsman, we cannot conclude that someone’s human rights have been breached, or that they have been discriminated against. That is a matter for the Courts. However, these issues are often inseparable from people being treated unfairly and suffering injustice. Because of that, if we see that someone’s human rights or equality rights may be relevant in a case, we will reflect that in our conclusions and recommendations.

We publish this Casebook to raise awareness of how we approach human rights and equality issues in our casework, but also to promote improvement of public services. For this reason, we also include several complaints that we did not uphold. We believe that this is important to better explain our approach to such cases, as well as to highlight correct administrative practice by the bodies investigated.

We know that there is an ongoing discussion at UK level about the future of the Human Rights Act 1998. We are clear that, regardless of the outcome of those discussions we will continue to do all we can to promote and protect the human rights and equality rights of the people who use Welsh public services.

Read the Casebook on our website here.