The Charter requires local councils to consider human rights when they deliver their services and engage with the community.
Although building human rights principles into an organisation’s operations can be a complex and challenging task, by engaging with the Charter, many local councils have improved their service standards and established new strategies to engage with their communities.
Local councils are responsible for delivering a wide variety of services to the community, including to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members, such as the elderly, people with disability, migrants, refugees and people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent.
By taking a human rights-based approach to service delivery, local councils can have a meaningful impact on the health, wellbeing and dignity of the community.
In the Commission’s 2011 survey of local governments, Moonee Valley City Council commented that: ‘the Charter has resulted in an increased understanding of marginalised groups by the staff of Family and Children’s Services, which has helped some parts of the community to better access services and receive improved care’.
The following examples demonstrate a rights-based approach to service delivery:
- The City of Darebin Charter Check Poster includes an overview of Charter rights that council staff must take into account when delivering services. It encourages staff to respect and promote human rights in their day-to-day work with colleagues, residents, clients, contractors and communities.
- Moonee Valley City Council has a dedicated page on its website outlining its service standards and complaints resolution protocol. Among other things, the citizen service standards provide that in conducting its business, the council will ‘treat people with respect, dignity, equality and fairness’ and ‘value the diversity of our community and citizens’.