One of the primary means of human rights protection under the Human Rights Act 1998 is the requirement, in section 6 of the Act, that all âpublic authoritiesâ comply with the human rights standards the Act incorporates. This obligation of compliance extends to private organisations when (but only when) they exercise public functions. However, recent decisions of the courts interpret section 6 so as to exclude from responsibility under the Human Rights Act many of the increasing number of private or voluntary sector organisations active in the provision of public services. This inquiry considers the possible consequences of the courtsâ interpretation of âpublic authorityâ for human rights protection in the United Kingdom, and explores how human rights accountability can be assured, in the context of increased delegation to the private and voluntary sectors. Under section 6 of the Human Rights Act âpureâ public authorities (such as government departments, local authorities or the police) are required to comply with Convention rights in all their activities, both public and private (e.g. including employment); under section 6(3)(b), other public authorities, those which exercise some public and some private functions, are required to comply with Convention rights when they are exercising a âpublic functionâ but not otherwise. During the debates on the Human Rights Bill, Parliament took the view that responsibility to comply with Convention rights under section 6(3)(b) would depend, not on the status of the organisation concerned, but on the nature of the functions it performed. A broad and flexible interpretation of âpublic authorityâ was seen as necessary to take account of the increasingly large number of private bodies exercising public functions. However, a line of cases regarding the application of section 6(3)(b), most notably R. (on the application of Heather) v Leonard Cheshire Foundation  EWCA Civ 366;  2 All E.R. 936 appears to reject this approach. It suggests that a private organisation, unless exercising statutory powers, or coercive or monopolistic powers delegated by the State, will fall within the ambit of section 6(3)(b) only where its structures and work are inextricably âenmeshedâ with the delegating State body. The likely consequence of the Leonard Cheshire line of case law is that many organisations that âstand in the shoes of the Stateâ will not have responsibilities under the Human Rights Act. In particular, in the context of a system of public service provision where responsibility is divided between public and private or voluntary sector bodies, a narrow application of responsibilities under section 6(3)(b) may lead to gaps and inconsistencies in human rights protection. During the 2008/2009 session of Paliament, Mr Andrew Dismore (Lab: Hendon) introduced a Private Members Bill to redress what he sees as the social injustice flowing from the Leonard Cheshire line of authority. The Human Rights Act (Meaning of Public Authorities) Bill was given its second reading on 3 July 2009: Hansard HC Deb 3 July 2009 cc 650 â 664WH. It is Mr Dismmoreâs third attempt to have the Bill read a second time. Unnfortunately, through the use of that well known device known as âfilibusteringâ by the Parliamentary under-secretary of state for justice â Bridget Prentice (Lab: Lewisham East). The Bill was âtalked outâ of the limited time allocated to the debate under Standing Order 14 by the government which opposes Mr Dismoreâs Bill for reasons which they lack the moral courage to state clearly and openly. Nevertheless, the Bill has appeared on the order paper for the second reading to be resumed on 16 October 2007. My own view is that the government will ensure that the Bill is killed before it completes its Parliamentary passage and will not survive the General Election. Heaven forbid that the government should support a Bill the result of which may involve its lamentable treatment of those who are of no further use to the state being exposed as falling below any international rights-based standard.