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Care experienced people in B&NES given protected characteristic status

Care leaver Jake with Cllr Paul May

People who have experienced being in care will be treated as having a protected characteristic by Bath & North East Somerset Council to ensure that its support and services help prevent discrimination.

A motion before Council on March 14 and unanimously agreed by all parties will make sure that care experienced people benefit from the same protections that are in place for other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

Jake, who is 17 years old and currently in care in B&NES, spoke ahead of the motion at the council meeting. He said: “Recognising care experience as a protected characteristic can empower care experienced people to live the life they want to live without judgement or stigma, to build lasting, meaningful relationships and create a sense of belonging and inclusivity. We know firsthand how much of society struggle to understand us.

“We want to feel like our council is moving away from misunderstanding care-experience and fighting against a culture of deficit, and stigma. Please be better corporate parents for us and consider adopting care-experience like a protected characteristic.”

The council is corporate parent to children and young people in B&NES who are in care and supports care experienced people up to the age of 25. 110 people are currently allocated to a personal advisor and a further 90 people aged between 21 and 25 are able to ask for support at any time.

The motion was brought to Council by Councillor Paul May, cabinet member for Children’s Services. He said: “Our duty as councillors is to do everything we can for those children and young adults. We should be asking whether the support and services we provide would be ‘good enough for my child?’ Positive action is needed to redress inequalities that result from the care experience and treating it as a protected characteristic will help ensure the council avoids any decisions or policies which could inadvertently discriminate against care experienced people.

“This motion is our opportunity to say and do the right thing for our own young people who have experienced our care, at whatever stage they are in their lives, and I’m delighted that councillors from all parties have agreed it. We are starting with protecting the characteristic within our own services, but we call on other local bodies to follow suit.”

You can view the council meeting on the council’s YouTube channel or read the motion on the council website.

The council works closely with Off The Record to support care experienced people in B&NES. More information about the support the council provides can be found at


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