COVID-19, Social Care and Human Rights: Impact Monitoring Report

Date: 27th October 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare


In summer 2020, Scottish Human Rights Commission carried out monitoring research into how COVID-19 has been managed and the impact of the pandemic on human rights including children’s rights. The research focused on the context of care at home and support in the community. The report calls for a commitment to return care and support to pre-pandemic levels as a minimum.

Evidence from this research shows the following:

  • COVID–19 has had a profound impact on the way in which social care support has been delivered in Scotland, leading to significant gaps in the realisation of rights for people who rely on such support, including unpaid carers.
  • A considerable proportion of people who use social care support at home have experienced either a reduction or complete withdrawal of support. In many cases, the withdrawals and reductions seen in the early months of the pandemic happened rapidly, without either adequate communication or assessment of the proportionality of such decisions.
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inadequacies in the models of social care access, funding, procurement and commissioning, which are unable to provide people with the support which most appropriately fits their life.
  • Legislative changes because of the pandemic have been poorly explained, and implementation of the legislation lacks transparency. This has confused people accessing the social care system and there was little opportunity for scrutiny by relevant parties.

The Commission expressed its concerns about the future social care support available to people whose care packages were reduced or withdrawn over the period, and the potential impact that this could have on how their rights are realised, both now and in future.

The report makes 24 recommendations, some of which call for urgent action to resolve immediate human rights concerns. These recommendations highlight the need to strengthen the framework of decision making in social care, through applying a rights-based approach. In turn, this would inform the development of a more robust accountability process, budget scrutiny and ensure stronger protection and respect for people’s rights.

  • Read the report in full here.