Agenda item

Motion Submitted by Councillor Roscoe - Care Experience

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It was moved by Councillor Roscoe, seconded by Councillor Doyle and unanimously




Care Experience


The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care headed by Josh McCallister published in May 2022 a final report and recommendations that included:


“Government should make care experience a protected characteristic” and “new legislation should be passed which broadens corporate parenting responsibilities across a wider set of public bodies and organisations.”


On Protected Characteristics for Care Experience - (Care Review May 2022)


“Many care experienced people face discrimination, stigma, and prejudice in their day to day lives. Public perceptions of care experience centre on the idea that children are irredeemably damaged and that can lead to discrimination and assumptions being made.


One young person told the review that a teacher had told them “You’re smart - for a kid in care”, another young person said “I don’t want people to point out that I am in care if I don’t want that mentioned. It makes me so cross – that shouldn’t happen.”


This stigma and discrimination can be explicit, and often comes with assumptions about the likely characteristics of children and adults that have care experience. They can also be implicit and are evidenced in the way care experience is discussed in schools, workplaces, and the media.


At its worst this can lead to care experienced people being refused employment, failing to succeed in education or facing unfair judgements about their ability to parent when they have children and families of their own.


Hearing testimony from care experienced people sharing the discrimination they have experienced, even from a very young age, it is clear that such discrimination can be similar in nature to other groups that have a legally protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010). So, while there may be ways that society can help reduce stigma and discrimination, including creating greater public consciousness on these issues, just as with other areas of equality, there is a case to go further. Therefore, the Government should make care experience a protected characteristic.


Making care experience a protected characteristic would provide greater authority to employers, businesses, public services, and policy makers to put in place policies and programmes which promote better outcomes for care experienced people. It will make the UK the first country in the world to recognise care experienced people in this way. As a measure, it will bolster and pave the way for a number of the recommendations in this chapter.”


Care Review May 2022


§    Care experienced people face significant barriers that impact them throughout their lives;

§    Despite the resilience of many care experienced people, society too often does not take their needs into account;

§    Care experienced people often face discrimination and stigma across housing, health, education, relationships employment and in the criminal justice system; and

§    Care experienced people often face a postcode lottery of support.


As corporate parents, councillors have a collective responsibility for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for the children who are looked after by us as an authority:


§     All corporate parents should commit to acting as mentors, hearing the voices of looked after children and young people and to consider their needs in any aspect of council work;

§    Councillors should be champions of our looked after children and challenge the negative attitudes and prejudice that exists in all aspects of society;

§    The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies, such as councils, to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation of people with protected characteristics.


This Council therefore resolves:


1.             When making any decisions in relation to our policies or formulating plans, that we recognise that care experienced people are a vulnerable group who face discrimination;


2.       We will put the needs of care experienced people at the heart of decision-making through co-production and collaboration;


3.       That future decisions, services and policies made and adopted by the Council should be assessed through Equality Impact Assessments to determine the impact of changes on people with care experience, alongside those who formally share a Protected Characteristic;


4.       That in the delivery of the Public Sector Equality Duty the Council includes care experience in the publication and review of Equality Objectives and the annual publication of information relating to people who share a Protected Characteristic in services and employment;


5.       To treat Care Experience as if it were a Protected Characteristic;


6.       To formally call upon all other bodies to treat care experience as a protected characteristic until such time as it may be introduced by legislation;


7.       For the Council to proactively seek out and listen to the voices of care experienced people when developing new policies based on their views;


8.       To continuing to progress the Caring Business Charter; and


9.       Our Corporate Parenting Board will oversee the delivery of this commitment.

Supporting documents: