Short Course

Human Rights and Local Government

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The details
Human Rights and Local Government
local government officials and councillors, local community groups, and anyone interested in local policy-development and human rights
Online

Six 90-minute modules on 7, 8, 9 and 14, 15, 16 May 2024 

The Essex Human Rights Centre presents a live online course on Human Rights and Local Government.

This is a practical professional development course focused on the UK, comprising six 90-minute modules over two consecutive weeks. You will acquire concrete tools and skills to practice human rights at the local level. You will also learn about valuable examples and techniques to advance human rights locally adapting universal values to local realities. Please note that this course focuses on UK law and policy only.

Applications for the Human Rights and Local Government Short Course are now open!

For all other queries please email summerschoolsandshortcourses@essex.ac.uk 

Overview

The Human Rights and Local Government short course will be of particular interest to local government officials and councillors, local community groups, and anyone interested in local policy-development and human rights.

Taught by experienced practitioners and local authorities themselves, you will learn about human right standards, as well as best practices. The course will examine relevant international law, but also domestic law in relation to equality and human rights.

The course is delivered online in six sessions of 90 minutes each on:  

  • Tuesday 7 May 2024
  • Wednesday 8 May 2024
  • Thursday 9 May 2024
  • Tuesday 14 May 2024
  • Wednesday 15 May 2024
  • Thursday 16 May 2024

Session times are 4pm - 5.30pm UK time.

All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a University of Essex Human Rights Centre certificate.

The design of the course requires limiting enrolment to a set number of participants.

Where do human rights begin? "In small places, close to home… They are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world".
Eleanor Roosevelt (1958)

Teaching schedule

This course lasts nine hours, split across six sessions over two weeks. All sessions run 4pm-5.30pm UK time.

  • Session One: Tuesday 7 May
    “Introduction: Why do human rights matter in local government?”
    Dr Koldo Casla, University of Essex
  • Session Two: Wednesday 8 May
    “Human rights duties of public authorities: Law, policy and best practice (I)”
    Sanchita Hosali and Carlyn Miller, The British Institute of Human Rights
  • Session Three: Thursday 9 May
    “Human rights duties of public authorities: Law, policy and best practice (II)”
    Sanchita Hosali and Carlyn Miller, The British Institute of Human Rights
  • Session Four: Tuesday 14 May
    “The socio-economic duty: Bringing equality and human rights together”
    Helen Flynn, Just Fair 
  • Session Five: Wednesday 15 May
    “A perspective from a local authority”
    Neil Munslow MBE, Newcastle City Council
  • Session Six: Thursday 16 May
    “Human Rights Cities and localizing human rights”
    Dr Koldo Casla, University of Essex

Each module runs for 90 minutes. Participants are advised to calculate additional time for reading before or after the sessions.

Teaching team

Dr Koldo Casla, University of Essex

Koldo Casla is Senior Lecturer in International Law at the University of Essex. He leads the Human Rights Local project of the Human Rights Centre of the same university, and he is the Director of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic. Previously, Dr Casla was Research Associate at the Institute of Health & Society of Newcastle University (2017-19), where he co-drafted the first Bill on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the UK. He was also Policy Director of the UK social rights NGO Just Fair (2016-19), independent researcher on social rights for Amnesty International Spain (2013-19), and Chief of Staff of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Parliament of the Basque Country, Ararteko (2011-13). Among other publications, Dr Casla is the author of Politics of International Human Rights Law Promotion in Western Europe: Order versus Justice (Routledge 2019), and Spain and Its Achilles' Heels: The Strong Foundations of a Country's Weaknesses (Rowman & Littlefield 2021), and co-editor of Social Rights and the Constitutional Moment: Learning from Chile and International Experiences (Hart 2022) and The European Social Charter: A Commentary, Volume 3 (forthcoming Brill 2024).

Dr Koldo Casla is the course leader of Human Rights and Local Government.

Sanchita Hosali and Carlyn Miller, The British Institute of Human Rights

Sanchita Hosali (CEO) has over two decades of experience working in human rights and equality law, policy and practice, both within the UK, in other countries, and at the international level. Carlyn Miller (Head of Policy and Programmes) is a human rights policy professional with over 10 years’ experience of operationalising human rights in the commissioning, planning and delivery of public services across the UK, with a particular expertise in Scotland.

The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) is a charity working in communities across the UK to enable positive change through the practical use of human rights law beyond the courts, sharing this evidence of change, based on the law, and people's lived experiences, to inform legal and policy debates. They work with people to provide the information they need to benefit from their rights; with community groups to advocate for social justice using human rights standards; and with staff across local and national public bodies and services to support them to make rights-respecting decisions. This enables them to call for the development of law and policy which truly understands people’s experiences of their human rights.

Helen Flynn, Just Fair

Helen Flynn is Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns at Just Fair. She holds an LLM in Human Rights and Criminal Justice from Queen’s University Belfast and has over ten years’ experience researching and campaigning on behalf of NGOs, community groups, and grassroots organisations towards the better realisation of human rights, with a particular focus on economic, social, and cultural rights. Helen leads Just Fair’s work on the socio-economic duty.

Just Fair is the only UK-wide civil society org focusing on everyday human rights - economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) - in the UK. Their goal is for ESCR to be incorporated into domestic law, and for the UK Government and public authorities to be effectively held to account in relation to their human rights obligations. If successful, these rights will be better respected, protected and fulfilled, and everyone will be guaranteed the basic requirements of a decent life in which they can thrive, with dignity.

Neil Munslow, Newcastle City Council

Neil is responsible for services in Newcastle that provide the foundations for all residents, including asylum seekers and refugees, to have more a stable life: somewhere to live, an income, financial inclusion, and employment opportunities.  Newcastle does this through an inclusive approach to providing information, advice, accommodation, and support to promote stability and prevent crisis.

Neil chaired the Eurocities Homelessness Group between 2009 and 2011.  Newcastle was the UK Government’s 2008 Regional Homelessness Champions and 2009 Regional Homelessness Champions and were asked to be an early adopter for the UK Government’s 2016 Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer programme. In 2020 Newcastle City Council won the World Habitat 2020 Gold Award for their long term work on homelessness prevention. In 2011 Neil was awarded an MBE for services to local government.

Course content

Session 1: Introduction -  Why do human rights matter in local government?
Instructor: Dr Koldo Casla, University of Essex

It is legally significant that human rights are recognised in international human rights treaties drafted, signed and ratified by States. However, the real power of human rights lies in the way they influence policy and practice nationally, but also locally. In this session, we will discuss why and how international human rights law matters for local government, even when international treaties may not have been incorporated into domestic (English) law. We will also discuss the various motivations that different actors may have to comply with international human rights standards.

Session 2: Human rights duties of public authorities: Law, policy and best practice (I)
Instructor: Sanchita Hosali and Carlyn Miller, The British Institute of Human Rights

This first of two sessions on the human rights duties on public authorities will explore the legal framework of the Human Rights Act and the range of duties this places on the bodies which wield public power that impacts people's lives in everyday ways. We will understand who and what a public body is, in the ever-changing landscape of public service, policy, and accountability. We will focus on the legal duties in section 6 and 3 of the Human Rights Act, together with the negative, positive, and procedural obligations in the rights themselves, and how these are used in practice.

Session 3: Human rights duties of public authorities: Law, policy and best practice (II)
Instructor: Sanchita Hosali and Carlyn Miller, The British Institute of Human Rights

In our second session we will dig deeper into the real life practice, exploring how the Human Rights Act can be a tool for change to help build a culture of respect for human rights beyond the court rooms. Focusing on public bodies in a range of everyday areas, such as health, care, social welfare, we will look at how human rights law can be levered by both duty-bearers and advocacy and community groups to secure rights respecting outcomes at a range of levels.

Session 4: The socio-economic duty: Bringing equality and human rights together
Instructor: Helen Flynn, Just Fair

Over a decade since the UK Government brought in the Equality Act 2010, this session will examine how the potential of the Equality Act, and the socio-economic duty in particular (section 1 of the Equality Act), can be unlocked to better realise rights in Great Britain. We will examine the links between equality and human rights, the socio-economic duty, and how this duty is being used across Scotland, Wales and at a local level in England to poverty-proof decision-making.

Session 5: A perspective from a local authority
Instructor: Neil Munslow MBE, Newcastle City Council

This session will cover the role of the local state as the national state withdraws, considering the challenges and opportunities of rights-based approaches to reconciling differences in values between the national state and the local state. This will consider the role of welfare safety net - should it be to catch people when they fall or to prevent people from falling. This means also considering the cost effectiveness of gatekeeping, prevention and crisis-based approaches.

Newcastle has focused on prevention, on awarding Newcastle with the World Habitat 2020 Gold Award the judging panel said: “Newcastle’s approach has prevented over 24,000 households from becoming homeless since 2014. Poverty and deprivation were already long-standing issues in the city before a decade-long programme of austerity. There are things others can learn from this project, in particular linking housing, homelessness, the voluntary sector, social care, and welfare – there’s no way you can end homelessness unless you make those links.”

In the sessions we will focus on ways to make a material difference to people experiencing disadvantage, through:

  • Data and evidence – using reviews and transparency for resource allocation and policy decisions;
  • Ethics and fairness – transparency, democracy, legality, funding;
  • Deliverability of resources – ambition, accountability, and affordability of accommodation, advice, support and Cash First Plus approaches;
  • Flexibility – maximising core statutory offers but understanding their limits;
  • Collaboration – proactive, proportionate responses to making preventing homelessness and financial exclusion everyone’s business;
  • Early prevention – using touch, trigger, and transition points and structured approaches to partnership;
  • Innovation – multidisciplinary teams, partnerships, counting down, and Safeguarding Newcastle Against Poverty.

Session 6: Human Rights Cities and localizing human rights
Instructor: Dr Koldo Casla, University of Essex

This session will bring the whole course together. We will share reflections on duties and good practices learned in previous sessions. We will also explore the idea and the practice of Human Rights Cities, i.e., cities and towns all over the world that have made a formal commitment to apply human rights proactively with their local policies. We will also learn what it means to localise human rights, to adapt human rights to local contexts to make them more meaningful for the community. 

Learning outcomes

You will learn how to:

  • Put human rights values-based leadership into practice in your daily work;
  • Apply human rights and equality law at the local level;
  • Make human rights locally relevant in your community;
  • Apply best practices from other contexts into your local reality;
  • Use international human rights law as a guidance for local policy development.

Eligibility

This course will be of particular interest to local government officials and councillors, local community groups, and anyone interested in local policy-development and human rights. Please note that this course focuses on UK law and policy only.

The course is delivered entirely in English. Thus, you are required to be highly competent in English.

Please note, to take part in the Human Rights and Local Government course you will need access to a laptop/computer and have a reliable internet connection.

Fees

Fee type  Cost per person
Standard  £300
Reduced fee when sending four or more participants from the same organisation  £250

Please complete your application and submit payment before Monday 29 April. We cannot guarantee that payments made after this date will be processed.

The delivery of this course is dependent on a minimum of applicants. In the unlikely event that this minimum is not met, we would have to reconsider the feasibility of running this course. 


How to apply

Applications to the Human Rights and Local Government course are now open, to apply complete the steps below:

  • Applicants should complete the online application form
  • Your application will then be reviewed by a member of the Human Rights Centre Team and you will be contacted if you are successful.
  • Once your application has been processed you will then be sent a link to pay, as well as details on how to complete the next steps of the registration process.
  • Once you have paid you will receive confirmation of your place.
  • Full payment for the course must be received by Monday 29 April 2024 to allow for any pre-course administration. 

For any payment issues or queries, please contact summerschoolsandshortcourses@essex.ac.uk

Webshop

You can pay for your place online via our Webshop which you will be sent a link to after completing the application form. The University bank will accept Visa, Mastercard, and Eurocard.

Paying by invoice

If you specifically require payment via an invoice, please email us at summerschoolsandshortcourses@essex.ac.uk

 
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Apply now

Applications for the Human Rights and Local Government Short Course are now open! Complete the online form to submit your application.

Apply now