By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
A campaigner said he was ‘over the moon’ after Nottingham City Council passed a motion pledging to treat experience in care as if it were a ‘protected characteristic’.
Nottingham City Councillors approved a motion in a Full Council meeting on January 9.
Cllr Georgia Power (Lab) proposed the motion, which was passed unanimously by councillors.
It states the authority will “recognise that care experienced people are a vulnerable group who face discrimination”.
Cllr Cheryl Barnard (Lab) said the motion would “take us one step forward in levelling the playing field for care experienced people”.
It means future services and policies made and adopted by the Labour-run council “will be assessed through Equality Impact Assessments to determine the impact of changes” on people who have experienced, or are in, care.
The step comes at a time when Nottingham City Council’s children’s services are rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
Terry Galloway, who grew up in care and lived in more than 100 places before he left the system, now campaigns for better rights for those who have been in the care system.
He has been behind the work to get local authorities across the country to adopt care experience as a protected characteristic.
Mr Galloway told the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting: “I’m over the moon. I’ve got councils all over the United Kingdom approving this but this is where I live so it means the most.
“I’m sad that the council was rated ‘inadequate’ for children’s services because there are some passionate people within social care at the city council.
“But if services drastically improve, that gives evidence for when the election comes.
“The reality is care experienced people are suffering and dying and we need to do something now.”
Wider work is also ongoing to get the Government to write the protections into legislation.
Cllr Power said during the meeting that the council is already doing “great work” including a council tax exemption for care leavers in the city.
She added: “Children in care make up less than one per cent of the population and care leavers make up 1.4 per cent of the population.
“Yet the latest statistics from an independent Government review show that care leavers make up a quarter of the prison and homeless population in this country.
“This is a staggering and stark reminder of our nation’s failure to our society’s most vulnerable people.
“As a council, we are already committed to supporting care experienced people to thrive and reach their full potential.
“That said, I know as a corporate parent we can and must do so much more.
“I hope this motion will go some way to supporting that ambition. This is a change that is long overdue.”
Ashfield District Council has already passed the motion, and Mr Galloway said he now wants other Nottinghamshire councils to approve the motion.
Nottinghamshire County Council is also due to vote on the motion on January 19.