The Equality and Human Rights Commission is developing proposals for a formal inquiry that would examine policy and practice in care homes and hospitals in relation to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
The watchdog said the Section 16 Inquiry, if it went ahead, would analyse the effectiveness of the safeguards and “ensure the rights of people in extremely vulnerable situations are protected”.
The EHRC said stakeholders had identified some significant problems and flaws in the application of the current provisions.
Publishing its corporate plan for 2013/14, the Commission said it would also work with local authorities, public and private sector providers and other regulators to implement its recommendations from previous inquiries into the provision of home care for vulnerable people, disability harassment and the treatment of vulnerable workers.
Other projects the EHRC will be involved in over the coming year include:
- Following up on its statutory 2010 spending review and working with government departments to ensure future financial decision making is fair;
- Gathering evidence and making recommendations on caste issues;
- Taking further action on diversity at work;
- Extending its work with the police on improving their use of stop and search.
Chief executive Mark Hammond said: “The Commission has a valuable role to play in helping Britain become a fairer country, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and we all have an equal chance to succeed.
“To help achieve this aim, our corporate plan for 2013/14 sets out a clear and robust sense of direction so that the public, our partners and our staff can see how we can achieve this outcome and where they can work with us to make a real and lasting difference.”
The corporate plan revealed that the EHRC has allocated £1.4m per annum to provide financial support for cases of strategic importance.
It also said the Commission would review its legal strategy in the course of the year.