Stuart Devlin: ‘My disability is mistaken for drunkeness’

April 13, 2019


Stuart on night out with friends

Stuart Devlin (person we work for and dates-n-mates member) features in a short video from the BBC about disability discrimination at night venues. This video also contains some scenes from a recent Club LATE night.

Stuart has been turned away from venues with door staff saying he is too drunk to get in, even though he has not yet had an alcoholic drink.

Stuart simply wants to say “You may think I appear drunk, though this is because I have conditions called Cerebral Palsy & Dyspraxia” though feels he is not understood or simply does not get the chance to say it.

Stuart almost lost the confidence to go on nights out due to a number of experiences like this.

It is another reason why there is a demand for Club LATE and more ‘inclusive clubbing’ nights.

We need and ask for more disability awareness training for staff at night venues to avoid people with disabilities being stigmatised or rejected in this way.

“This is so important. My friend who is a doorman had this experience with someone who had cerebral palsy, and almost turned him away. It’s just too easy, under those circumstances, to assume the reason is drunkenness. Awareness campaigns like this one are a great idea.” Comment on video via BBC facebook page

Click here to view video via BBC news

Organisations such as the ‘Stay Up Late’ campaign fight for disabled people’s right to have a good night out like everyone else. You can find out more by visiting their website: or facebook group:

There is also a Stay Up Late Scotland campaign. Visit their facebook page:

Find out more about monthly Glasgow inclusive club night LATE:


Human Rights to be written into Scottish Law

December 11, 2018


A comprehensive set of human rights are to be written into Scottish law for the first time amid fears that existing protections may be eroded when the UK leaves the EU.

Professor Alan Miller, who chaired the advisory group, said internationally recognised human rights “belong to everyone in Scotland and must be put into our law”.

Scottish Human Rights Commission chair Judith Robertson described the decision as an “important milestone”, coming 70 years after the signing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Click on the following link to find out more:

Click here for to view the final report and advice with recommendations for a new human rights framework in Scotland (First Ministers Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership)

Website for (Scottish Government) First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership:


International Human Rights Day 2018

December 10, 2018



Today is International Human Rights Day 2018.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10th December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today marks the 70th Anniversary of this declaration.

Seventy years later, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just as powerfully relevant as it was on its first day.

Human rights are everyone’s rights. Know your rights and help spread the word!

Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity! Whatever nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, ability, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Find out more about Human Rights Day 2018:

Click here to download an illustrated edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Being Human Conference, Glasgow 2018 – Summary Document

September 27, 2018


We have produced a summary document of our Glasgow Being Human 2018 Conference & Book Launch, we held at the end of August this year. This was titled Being Human: Human Rights and Social Care Putting Rights into Practice.

This document includes a brief summary of the conference itself as well as feedback given on the day.

Please click here to download and view (PDF)



Challenging Social Care Decisions in Scotland: A Legal Guide

September 14, 2018


The aim of this guide is to help explain when decisions made about social care can be challenged using the law; and how to go about doing it. The guide attempts to answer the simple questions: “is there a legal duty to provide social care; and is there a legal route for service users to enforce that duty?”

The guide:

  • Introduces key legal concepts.
  • Discusses the legal definition of social care and whether the law gives a legal right to social care.
  • Describes the way in which decisions of public authorities, including local authorities, can be challenged in the courts.
  • Outlines where social care decisions relating to individuals might be open to challenge.
  • Highlights the relevant parts of human rights law, showing how these could apply to social care decisions.
  • Looks at how other, more general, decisions relating to social care could be challenged and shows how the Equality Act 2010 might be relevant in these challenges.

Click here to download Challenging Social Care Decisions in Scotland – A Legal Guide (PDF) by Tim Haddow (Advocate), published by MECOPP.

Being Human, Glasgow 2018 Conference – Thank you!

August 31, 2018


We would like to thank all our speakers, panellists and delegates who attended our Glasgow Being Human 2018, Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights into Practice conference on Tuesday 28th of August, who collectively made it such a great afternoon.

There was a wealth of insight from our speakers and panellists on the subject of human rights. This included the rights of the child, women, disabled persons and those with dementia. We hope that the conference was thought provoking for all those who attended.

We would like to thank the Scottish Universities Insight Institute at Strathclyde University for the use of the venue on the day.

The conference and it’s subject matter was based on our CEO Dr Sam Smith‘s book under the same title as the conference. To purchase a copy, please click here to visit Dunedin Press and use CHILDSOCIAL20 at checkout for 20% off.

More pictures as well as videos from the conference will be uploaded in the near future.


Why We Are Talking About Human Rights & Social Care

August 23, 2018


Being Human, But Why? By Dr Sam Smith (CEO, C-Change Scotland)

Tuesday 28th August 2018, marks the fourth in a series of Being Human conferences hosted by the organisation I work for, C-Change Scotland. The organisation works with disabled people with additional support needs assisting them to live their good life. So why has the organisation been spending time talking about human rights, is that not someone else’s business, like policy makers, lawyers or the courts?

We think not, we think human rights and the debates and discussion about them are absolutely the stuff of social care. Dignity, the founding principle of human rights is the bedrock of good social care, indeed of any relational interaction. The problem is there seems to be a gulf between policy and practice and rhetoric and reality. The conference also heralds the launch of the book I have written, Human Rights and Social Care, Putting Rights into Practice. The book attempts to make inroads into that gap by connecting case law and practice examples. The book uses the PANEL principles of Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination, Empowerment and Equality and Legality as a navigational tool to guide practice.

Book launches usually take the form of an author’s lecture and drinks reception. This conference and book launch is more of a celebration of the evolution and the potential of developing a human rights based approach to social care in Scotland. It provides the forum to showcase human rights in action across a range of areas of social care including work with children, women , disabled people and those affected by Alzheimers. We are also very fortunate to have Professor Alan Miller provide the keynote presentation.

Human rights requires leadership. In Scotland we have strong and positive cross party political support for the human rights agenda. However this is not enough, we need to strengthen our citizen leadership. For people to exercise their rights they need to know about them. The aim of the conference and the book is to raise awareness of the potential of adopting a human rights based approach to social care.

We hope you can join us on the day but if not please follow us on social media using the hashtag #rightsintopractice


For further posts about our series of Being Human conferences please click here


Dr Sam Smith (CEO, C-Change Scotland)

22nd of August 2018


Being Human Conference, Glasgow – August 2018

July 27, 2018


beinghuman_4_LogoWe are delighted to announce the latest in our series of Being Human conferences titled Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights Into Practice

This will take place at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute in Glasgow on Tuesday 28th August 2018.

This event will also include the launch of C-Change Scotland CEO Dr Sam Smith’s book Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights Into Practice.

We hope the event really will put the ‘human’ into human rights. Drawing inspiration from the famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote about the importance of rights in those ‘small places close to home’, we would like delegates to leave the event with a sense of what is possible when they/we utilise our own agency to advance the human rights agenda in the field of social care.

Our Key Note Speaker this year will be Professor Alan Miller (Special Envoy of the (Chair of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership Scotland) who offers a wealth of insight into human rights and social care. The conference will also cover topics including the rights of the child, of women, of older persons and of disabled persons.

Our other speakers will include:
Dr Sam Smith (CEO, C-Change Scotland)
Juliet Harris (Director, Together Scotland)
Emma Rich (Executive Director, Engender)
Henry Simmons (Chief Executive, Alzheimers Scotland)
Paul Stratton & Shona Perfect (C-Change Scotland)

We will also have a Panel Discussion with an expert panel and audience participation. Our Panel will include:
Professor Nicole Busby (University of Strathclyde)
Judith Robertson (Scottish Human Rights Commission)
Expert by experience tbc

Please click here for full event Running Order.

The event will take place as follows:
Date: Tuesday 28th of August 2018
Time: 1:00pm – 4:15pm
Venue: Scottish Universities Insight Institute
University of Strathclyde
Collins Building
22 Richmond Street
G1 1XQ

To book your place please click here to complete our online booking form.


Save The Date: Being Human Conference – August 2018

June 22, 2018


Title: Being Human 4: Putting Rights Into Practice

When: Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Location: Strathclyde University


Click here to find out about our last Being Human conference held in Aberdeen, May 2018

Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care)

June 8, 2018




By Dr Sam Smith (C-Change Scotland CEO)


I have written a book: Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care), which was published last month.

The book draws inspiration from the following famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote.

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood (s)he lives in; the school or college (s)he attends; the factory, farm, or office where (s)he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger ).[1]

I have taken the audacious liberty of slightly amending the quote (in brackets) to address the gender-specific nature of the original statement. The book aims to act as a counter balance to the notion of human rights, and human rights law, as the preserve of lawyers, court rooms and judges. This is not to say that the legal profession and the court of law are not important in the realisation of human rights. They are, and careful attention has been paid in each chapter to significant case law that has contributed to the development of human rights jurisprudence.

The focus of the book is, however, on the universality of human rights and the role of the citizen in manifesting and bringing these rights to life, in the living breathing reality of our day-to-day lives. Its aim is to contribute to a growing understanding of the power and potential of human rights in the many different roles citizens fulfil daily, as family members, as colleagues, as those in receipt of additional support and as professionals working in the field of social care. Human rights are, if understood, owned and exercised, a set of shared values and aspirations that form a common lexicon of oneness in our humanity, that transcends age, gender, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. In that, they can be the source of great inspiration, power and solidarity and act as a catalyst for meaningful progressive social change.

A formal launch of the book is planned for late August and I will talk more about this as we near the date.

Human Rights and Social Care: Putting Rights into Practice (Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care) is available now via


[1] Excerpt from a speech at the presentation of ‘In Your Hands: A Guide for Community Action for the Tenth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, Thursday, 27 March 1958, United Nations, New York. As head of the Human Rights Commission, she was instrumental in formulating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she submitted to the UN General Assembly with these words: ‘We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.’