These corporate parenting principles are embedded within every local authority. They must convene composite parenting boards and networks in their local authority. As part of this, they have to be partners like education bodies. Housing associations, DWP, GP surgeries, police, and others to discuss guarding. However, it's a one-way street, and there is no similar requirement for any of these partners to do the same thing. The Scotland Act 2014 required other organisations in Scotland to abide by the corporate parenting principles, and it didn't work because it's not an easy thing to understand. Local Authorities get it because they live and breathe k, but it's an entirely alien concept outside this environment.
I'm working with a college that wants to adopt care experience into their impact assessments. I was invited to speak to the board because they weren't 100% certain about what they signed up for. It took them a while to fully understand how corporate parenting principles work, but they grasped protected characteristics and how these benefit young people straight away. It provides a framework for proper parenting and reduces stigma. People get discriminated against directly, but the thing that's going to make the most significant difference is the policy change. This comes with quality impact assessments, which make decision-makers and policymakers understand who care experienced people are and put them at the forefront of decision-making,
If it is on an equality impact assessment, then they have to think about how it sits with care experienced people when they are designing a service. This, more than anything, gives voice and helps care experience be heard.
Think about concessions for transport. Under eighteens get a discount. Young people with SEND get a discount until twenty-four because it's recognised that they need those services longer. Care-experienced people are more likely to be living on their own at eighteen and they face a more significant disadvantage compared with other people of the same age. When transport companies make their equality impact, assessments to determine how the different protected characteristics are affected by their statements, a secure characteristic would help them to level up equality of opportunity for care experienced people.
We are seeing Local Councils starting to buy into the concept of protected characteristics for the care experience. However, because the central government is choosing not to adopt this, no one on the partners of local authority ties to buy into it. We need everybody to work together to deliver better services and outcomes for care experts and people. It also helps reduce costs for public bodies too.
Auditing the community and understanding the numbers of care-experienced people using different services, like social housing, and whether there are higher percentages of complex evictions from housing associations or how many care-experienced people are currently in prison. When we understand these numbers, we can use this data to do something about it and work with the whole ecosystem to find better ways to level up. For example, suppose it's highlighted that a more significant percentage of care-experienced people are being evicted. In that case, providing additional services to better prepare them for living alone might reduce this from happening and, therefore the associated costs.
We are far from achieving this, but I can see it happening. Local councils want to move in this direction. I was recently asked to support Hear Me Out, a group of care-experienced people who spoke to Doncaster City Council and brought their stories of discrimination to drive change. It opened up the decision-making process and empowered them to be part of this process.
Fay, 17, Care Leaver, part of the 'Hear Me Out' group, lived in children's homes and is now in semi-supported accommodation. She spoke at the corporate parenting board on behalf of care-experienced people from the 'Hear Me Out' Group in November.
"On that day back in November we mode the councillors cry because
they started to realise what care experienced people must go through. Listening to councillors talking about us and how we made them feel made me feel listened to. Hearing them support us one after another made me feel valued, and watching them vote unanimously at the end was unbelievable because It had come from us."
Kanisha, 22, Care Leaver, part of the 'Hear Me Out' group, lived in foster homes and is now an apprentice with the Children's Rights team at Doncaster City Council.
"I felt nervous today as I did not think there would be that many people in one room, but I spoke because it needed to be done, and we were the right people to do this. I watched our group of young people as the motion passed, and there were tears. We are all passionate about this because we want the future to be better for other children in care and care leavers. We have done other stuff before, but nothing Gast This was bigger because if we get this across the country, then we will be at the forefront of change.
"I hope this will spur other groups across these islands to bring more motions so we can finally get the change we need and deserve."
Terry Galloway, leader of the Protected Characteristics campaign for Care Experienced People
I'm so proud of this group of young people in Doncaster for bringing this motion to the attention of their corporate parents. It is a pleasure to be here to witness his. They are so brave, and it is traumatic; they got a result for themselves and others, so hopefully, it is worthwhile. I hope this will spur other groups across these lands to bring more motion to get the change we need and deserve finally."
The response from the government in February, where they stated that they do not intend to make care experience a protected characteristic, is part of the process, and I don't think it will stop it from happening was recently at Telford and Wrekin Council, and they had a message for the government: "if you won't do it, then we will"
The Government need to remember that history is being played out. We will continue to embrace, as many people have done before us.