Human Rights Act proposal 'clumsy'

A proposal to designate charities as public authorities to bring them within the scope of the Human Rights Act has been criticised by sector representative bodies.

The Ministry of Justice has said it will consult the sector on whether charities should be covered by the act. In March, the Government inserted a clause into the Health and Social Care Bill - which had its third reading in the Lords yesterday - that would bring private and voluntary sector care homes within the scope of human rights law (Third Sector Online, 28 March).

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, told Third Sector that designating charities as public authorities would be "very clumsy" and might have unintended consequences.

A spokeswoman for umbrella body the NCVO said: "We have real concerns about what being designated a public authority means in terms of the perceived and actual independence of voluntary organisations."

Kevin Curley, chief executive of local umbrella body Navca, said the act should apply only to large charities whose funding came mostly from public contracts.

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