1. Human Rights Act Open Letter

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    We stand together as Advocacy, Information & Advice Charities calling on the Prime Minister and our government to protect the Human Rights Act

    On May 18th 2022, we wrote to the Prime Minister to raise our concerns about the proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act, and the proposed introduction of the  Bill of Rights.

    Advocacy Focus has collaborated with over 40 Advocacy, Information and Advice Charities to bring attention to the important rights and protections the Human Rights Act offers our collective beneficiaries to live as equal people and to be treated with dignity.

    Our letter to the Prime Minister can be read below in full. The letter was organised by the national advocacy Charity POhWER. To have your Charity or Organisation added to this letter digitally, be added to the mailing list for future campaign activity or for other queries relating to this letter please contact POhWER Chief Executive at  or Leanne Hignett – at Advocacy Focus who can support you with your query.

    The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
    Prime Minister

    10 Downing Street,



    SW1A 2AA

    May 18, 2022

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Human Rights Act & Proposed Bill of Rights

    We the undersigned represent Charities and organisations who have supported millions of people to have their rights upheld and voices heard through advocacy, information, and advice since the Human Rights Act was introduced.

    The UK has and continues to be a leader in the development and contributor of human rights law over the last hundred years. Since joining the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) we have been bound to comply with its provisions. The Human Rights Act brought rights home and created an important obligation for public authorities to comply with ECHR.

    The Human Rights Act commits public authorities to comply with the European Convention of Human Rights in their policies, procedures and decision making. As advocates we see the positive impact Human Rights Act has had on the people we support through our charitable work.

    Without the Human Rights Act, the modern advocacy profession might not exist with the same powerful impact or independent scrutiny. The Human Rights Act is at the epi-centre of a framework of rights and entitlements complemented by the Equality Act, Care Act, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Liberty Protection Safeguards, Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act, related legislation in the devolved nations and Safeguarding.

    Thanks to the Human Rights Act as advocates, we are able to independently challenge public authorities that support us in our everyday lives.

    We help people to live as equal people through the cases we manage to have their human rights upheld in public services. 

    Advocacy is one of the many ways in which people can be supported and empowered to uphold their rights and entitlements, be provided with choices and options, and safeguarded from harm and abuse. An advocate can help a person to:

    • speak up for themselves or give their views
    • understand the process they are going through, their rights and what choices are available to them
    • be part of an important decision which is being made about them
    • prepare for and take part in meetings and tribunals
    • raise queries or concerns
    • access information in the format which is most suitable
    • access services that can support them

    Advocates can also provide information and signpost people to other helpful services. Our intervention often means people do not need to access justice through the courts or legal pathway as our intervention empowers people and protects their human rights.

    The current laws protect everyone in the UK no matter who they are or what their own situation may be. The proposed reforms would significantly reduce the legal responsibilities the Government currently has towards us and diminish mechanisms for our collective Charity beneficiaries to hold public services accountable and to be treated as equal people.

    The proposed Bill of Rights would offer opt-outs to public authorities to pick and choose whose rights they supported and if/when they supported those rights.  Many of the people we support are socially excluded, vulnerable and/or marginalised.

    To focus this consultation on just a few minor legal technicalities and procedural nuances is diminishing the wider role the HRA 1998 plays to support people in everyday life and enable them to live as dignified people. Without HRA 1998, there would be no clear rulebook to govern expectations of conduct when dealing with public services such as Statutory Bodies, Local Authority, Prisons, NHS, DWP, Immigration, Housing and Coroner Service.

    We believe the changes proposed are detrimental to our beneficiaries and would remove independent scrutiny of public services and the important role of advocacy. 

    We are calling on a wider study and equality impact assessment to understand the realities on the wider UK population,  requesting for a meeting to share case studies and evidence on how HRA benefits the people we support every day through public authority independent scrutiny and mitigates often wider escalations in the legal process. Scrapping HRA would be detrimental to our beneficiaries, public authorities and wreak havoc with framework of other intersecting rights laws and codes of practices.

    Our society remains unfair and unequal – the millions of people who sought support through our Charities should serve as significant reminder that the Human Rights Act 1998 and other protection laws are not currently being necessarily always upheld by local and central government bodies. Independent scrutiny, challenge, and freedom for people to empower themselves is a fundamental part of our society and democracy.

    Yours sincerely,

    Helen Moulinos, Chief Executive, POhWER

    Jo Moore, CEO, Accommodation Concern

    Peter Walsh, Chief Executive, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)

    Mr Abe Ncube, Advocacy 1st, Community Connex

    Leanne Hignett, Service Delivery Director, Advocacy Focus

    Elssa Keegan, CEO, Advocacy Matters

    Judith Davey, Chief Executive Officer, The Advocacy Project

    Sabrina Solomon, Head of Service Delivery, The Advocacy Project

    Ian Maxey, Deputy Head of Service Delivery, The Advocacy Project

    Natasha Fox, CEO, Advocacy West Wales-Eiriolaeth Gorllewin Cymru

    Philip Bramson, Chief Executive, Advonet

    Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Sr Ruth Miller, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Theresa Mawson, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Kevin Keech, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Bridie Sharkey, Trustee, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Kacey Jones, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Peter Simm, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Ged Edwards, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Gareth Hankinson, Staff, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Steve Hawkins, Trustee, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Mike Storry, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Dr Paula Grey, Trustee, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Shahzad Wilson Mukerjee, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Hilary Hopkin, Volunteer, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Jannatul Chowdhury, Staff, Asylum Link Merseyside

    Chris Vick, Service Director, Advocacy Services for North East Wales (ASNEW)

    Emily Barratt, Deputy Director, Brighton and Hove Speak Out

    Chris Mounsher, Advocate, Brighton and Hove Speak Out

    Emma Lopez, Engagement officer, Brighton and Hove Speak Out

    Jeanette Goodman, Advocacy Team Leader, Brighton and Hove Speak Out

    Sarah Coombes, Volunteer Coordinator, Brighton and Hove Speak Out

    Sanchita Hosali, CEO, British Institute of Human Rights

    Philip Kerr, Carers Federation

    Angus Claydon, Director of Operations, The Care Forum

    Kevin Peltonen-Messenger, CEO, The Care Forum

    Michèle Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, Carers in Hertfordshire

    Roma Mills, Policy and Engagement Manager, Carers in Hertfordshire

    Colin Ling CEO, Chinese Wellbeing

    Di Burbidge Service Development Manager, Chinese Wellbeing

    Jack Davey, Advice Service Lead, CHAS Bristol

    Alice Tibbert, Director, CHAS Bristol

    Suzi Henderson, CEO, Cloverleaf Advocacy

    Cherry Pedler, Manager, Community Support Network South London (CSN)

    Garrick Prayogg,  Project Manager, Cultural Diversity Network

    Maria Dolly Galvis Zapata, Chief Executive Officer, The Elfrida Society

    Ali F. Jabeen, Operations Manager, Specialist Advocacy Services for Parents with Learning Disabilities and/or Difficulties, The Elfrida Society

    Deborah Kober Specialist Advocates for Adults and Parents with Learning Disabilities and/or Learning Difficulties, The Elfrida Society

    Janay Crooks, Specialist Advocates for Adults and Parents with Learning Disabilities and/or Learning Difficulties, The Elfrida Society

    Nikki Chivers, Group Facilitator for Adults with Learning Disabilities, The Elfrida Society

    Lynne Stafford, Chief Executive, Gaddum

    Ben Whalley, Head of Operations, Gaddum

    Caroline Ridley CEO, Impact Initiatives

    Louise Peim Operations and Contracts Manager, Impact Initiatives

    Sam Grant, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Liberty

    Katy Porter, CEO, Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

    Saiqa Sahotra Community Advocate, Mary Seacole House

    Alex Coombes Specialist Advocate, Mary Seacole House

    Ben Allen Community Advocate, Mary Seacole House

    Miatta Mac-Boimah Outreach Worker, Mary Seacole House

    Simon Torkington Advocacy and Training Manager, Mary Seacole House

    Dr Melvin Bradley, CEO, MhIST

    Gillian Unsworth, CEO, Mind in Brighton and Hove

    Sharn Tomlinson, Chief Executive Officer, Mind in Mid Herts

    Michelle Kabia, CEO, Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham

    Fiona Scaife, Operational Director for Advocacy Services, Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham

    Shelu Miah, Operations Director, Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham

    Rita Hirani, CEO MindOut.

    Mandy Bigden-Slack, Advocacy Service Manager, MindOut

    Teresa Jennings, Chief Executive, n-compass

    Rita Waters, Group Chief Executive, NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service)

    Kate Harvey CEO, Onside Advocacy

    Suzanne Watterson Advocacy Services Manager, Onside Advocacy

    Janine Daniels- Stretch Advocacy Services Manager, Onside Advocacy

    Tony Kildare, Board Chair of Trustees, POhWER

    Elyzabeth Hawkes, Deputy Chief Executive, POhWER

    Fiona McArthur-Worbey, Director of Fundraising & Engagement, POhWER

    Sandra Black, Associate Director, POhWER

    Caroline Caesar‑Caston, ​Associate Director, POhWER

    Martin Humes, Associate Director, POhWER

    Jayne Degiorgio​, Head of Service London and South East, POhWER

    Rose Humphries, Head of Service Central, Northeast & Scotland, POhWER

    Anna Hansell, Head of Service South West and Wales, POhWER

    Olivia Guerini, Suicide Support Therapist, Rethink Mental Illness

    Gary Underhill, Spearman

    Arran Evans, Director, Sussex Interpreting Services

    Emma Edwards, Director of Operations & Quality, Together

    Tracy Moss, Operations and Development Manager, Together

    Penelope Gibbs, Director, Transform Justice

    Leslie Billy, Chief Executive, Viewpoint

    Sharon Cullerton, Director, Vital Projects

    Sara Firth, Chairperson, Vital Projects

    Jonathan Senker, Chief Executive, VoiceAbility

    Patricia Curran, Advocacy Service Manager, York Advocacy Hub

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