Page 2: People's rights and social inclusion
In modern democracies, citizens take responsibility for the society in which they live. Part of the Government's role is to ensure that society is inclusive and that all citizens have the opportunity to make the best use they can of their skills and abilities. Among the groups that have found themselves 'excluded' in the past are people from black and ethnic minorities, women, lesbian and gay people, disabled people, the poor, the over 50s and lone parents.
The New Deal initiatives for unemployed people provide a good example of a government policy intended to create social inclusion. These initiatives provide a range of training opportunities to help unemployed people back into work, with all the economic and social advantages that can come from being employed.
Another example of a government policy, promoting social inclusion and helping people protect their rights is the provision of high quality legal services for all members of society.
The Legal Services Commission - core purpose
The Government set up the LSC in 2000. It is a public body sponsored by the Government's Department for Constitutional Affairs. The Government supplies the operating budget (c. £2b a year) and the Commission has a duty to use it to maximum effect.
The LSC funds and manages services which provide people with information, advice and help. It has around 1,700 staff working at 13 sites across England and Wales. In the past the UK's Legal Aid system provided legal advice and support of inconsistent quality and value for money. The LSC has transformed this situation and created a system that delivers quality assured services, public accountability and value for money.
The LSC's core purpose is to help people obtain quality legal services that tackle real needs. In this way, the LSC contributes towards: making the justice system fair, accessible and affordable to all.