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Cambridge City Council

We will now recognise experience of care as a Protected Characteristic 

20 February 2024

Councillors voted unanimously at our meeting of Full Council on Thursday (15 February) to treat the experience of spending time in the care system as if it were a Protected Characteristic.

Currently the Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies such as councils to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation of people who are protected under the nine Protected Characteristics, but there is no requirement nationally to include experience of care as part of this.

Our commitment to treating care experience as an additional Protected Characteristic will mean considering how policies, practice and decisions affect people who have experience of being in care, in the same way that council staff are currently required to consider people with other Protected Characteristics. We will also proactively seek out and listen to the voices of care experienced people when developing new policies.

Individuals with care experience can face both direct and indirect discrimination throughout their lives. Care experience can also have long-term effects on individuals, including poor mental health, social stigma based on others’ negative attitudes to people with care experience that can also impact on access to employment and housing, lack of trust in services borne out of their experience in the care system, and poor social networks to draw on for support due to broken familial relationships and relocation.

Councillors and members of the public spoke in favour of the motion during the Full Council meeting. Below you can watch a young care leaver, Kerrie, share her story when she asked a public question during the meeting. 

By making this commitment, we join Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which have passed similar motions to recognise care experience as if it were a protected characteristic.

Read the full text of the motion, or watch the discussion in full.