Implementing fundamental rights is a public duty across all sectors, departments and policies of government. Hence integrating fundamental rights thinking into policies, services and administrative practice should be seen as a cross-cutting task for all sectors and levels of government.
It is important that all public policies comply with and support the implementation of fundamental rights. The public officials, who contributed to this toolkit, recommend considering the following:
Demonstrating policy relevance by creating a clear link between fundamental rights and existing policies facilitates coordination with colleagues, managers and elected representatives.
Fundamental rights review
Reviewing current policies in the design and planning stage helps ensure a level of coherence of policies with fundamental rights. It also indicates which departments and policy fields should be prioritised for coordination.
Politics and changing policy priorities
Public policies can change following elections. New policies may unintentionally undermine or even clash with fundamental rights requiring new coordination efforts.
Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration (PECI) 2007-2010
The central government in Spain adopted a Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration (PECI) to promote the full implementation of integration policies at all levels of government. Through this plan, the government provided a central resource for regional authorities and municipalities for the integration of immigrants.
Cross-sector and multi-level coordination was seen as a key element. "Given the framework of competences developed in accordance with the Spanish constitution, cooperation between the various levels of government is a key factor in the governance of integration policies and measures".
The plan included specific objectives and programmes/activities in cross-cutting areas that aimed to improve the social inclusion of migrant groups in multiple sectors, including, for example, education, employment, health and housing. It also included actions related to awareness raising and equal treatment.
Gaining support from officials at all levels is a critical step towards creating a fundamental rights culture in a country and ensuring the effective implementation fundamental rights related policies and measures.
Division of responsibilities
The responsibilities for fundamental rights policies and actions are effectively distributed between and within levels of governance. To avoid duplication of interventions and ensuring that the rights of all individuals and groups are taken into account, each sector/level must be aware of and explicit about its positions and roles and those of other sectors/levels.
Coordination requires that resources are adequately distributed between levels of government. When competences with crucial fundamental rights implications are devolved to local and regional authorities, it is of vital importance that state governments also provide the material resources for their effective exercise.
Sharing and spreading information
Information must be regularly circulated among all levels and sectors of government. Such routines avoid overlap in implementation. Information sharing also makes it more possible to address lapses or gaps.