Related policy areas including human rights and prevention.

Human Rights

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (this link will take you away from our website) takes a human rights based approach, promoting international human rights standards to ensure that people’s human rights are put at the very centre of policy and practice.

A human rights based approach empowers people to know and claim their rights. It increases the ability of organisations, public bodies and businesses to fulfil their human rights obligations. It also creates solid accountability so people can seek remedies when their rights are violated. The PANEL principles are one way of breaking down what a human rights based approach means in practice.

PANEL stands for:

  • Participation
  • Accountability
  • Non-Discrimination and Equality
  • Empowerment
  • Legality

Cathy Asante Presentation on Human Rights Based Approach (this link will take you away from our website).

Human Rights in Health and Social Care

Human rights can help to bridge the cultural divide between health and social care. Embedding human rights within the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill, and the wider agenda, provides a shared foundation, not owned by ‘health’ or ‘social care’ and focused on people, not structures or systems.

Human rights underpin a range of ideas currently prevalent across health and social care, including: personalisation, person-centredness, recovery, coproduction and self management. All of these involve the person being at the centre and having choice and control over their own lives.

A human rights based approach can help us to deliver the public service reform agenda.

Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights

SNAP – Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (this link will take you away from our website) aims to build a better human rights culture, help improve people’s lives through human rights and contribute to a better world by giving effect to Scotland’s international human rights obligations.

SNAP is the first National Action Plan for human rights in any part of the UK. It is based on experience from other European and Commonwealth countries, as well as guidance from the United Nations and the Council of Europe.


The Christie Commission (this link will take you away from our website) recommended that Public Service Reform prioritised prevention (along with reducing inequality, and promoting equality) to tackle root causes of problems and negative outcomes, and thereby reduce demand in public services, which is essential in a time of reduced public spending and changing demographics.

‘Preventative spend’ in Scottish Government terms is characterised as spending in the current period that is expected to reduce public spending demands in the future by reducing avoidable health and social problems. This definition differs from wider public health definitions of ‘prevention’, where the focus on prevention can be seen to take 3 distinct forms:

  • Primary prevention: Activities designed to reduce the incidence of health problems – involves measures to reduce the risk of health issues arising and to reduce their duration.
  • Secondary prevention: Activities aimed at detecting and treating health problems – this covers almost all of health care activity.
  • Tertiary prevention: Activities aimed at reducing the impact of health problems to ensure people engage fully in educational, family, professional, social and cultural life – this covers almost all of social care activity.