People working in public services, called public officials, must, by law, uphold your human rights. This includes:

  • Local authority staff (such as social services, housing etc.)
  • Police
  • NHS staff
  • Courts and tribunals, e.g. the Mental Health Tribunal or the Court of Protection

This is not a full list, just examples of who has duties to uphold your rights.



What does this legal duty mean in everyday life?

Under the Human Rights Act public services (and the officials who work for them) by law must protect, respect and fulfil human rights in every service they provide, in every action and decision, every day.

This means that public services (and the officials who work for them) must:

  • Respect your rights:
    They must not restrict them or try to breach them. This can only happen in some limited situations.
  • Protect your rights:
    They must step in and take positive action to protect people from harm, usually called safeguarding.
  • Fulfill your rights:
    They must investigate when things have gone wrong, (and try to stop it from happening again).

If you think your human rights are not being respected you should contact someone working in a public service like a social worker, your GP or council. Once they know your rights are at risk, they will have a duty to act and take steps to protect your rights.

  • For serious concerns, contact the police. In an emergency call 999, for other police queries contact 101.