Decision details

Care Experience as a Protected Characteristic

Reference: D57163

Decision Maker: Executive Board

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The report recommends that the Executive Board agrees that Leeds City Council join 57 other Councils in amending its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy to include care experience as a Locally Protected Characteristic in recognition of the lifelong impact of having been in care for those individuals, particularly, but not exclusively, in relation to housing, health, education, relationships, employment and in the criminal justice system.  This demonstrates our commitment as a Corporate Parent to ending the disparity and inequality faced by care experienced young people by going beyond our statutory requirements and ensuring that the needs of care experienced young people are at the heart of all our decision-making alongside other groups who formally share a Protected Characteristic. The report outlines the rationale for the proposal, legal implications and range of actions and duties this will require the Council to adopt and adhere to.


The Director of Children and Families submitted a report which sought agreement to ‘care experience’ being recognised as a locally protected characteristic by Leeds City Council and which presented the reasons for this proposal. Further to this, the report also recommended a series of actions arising from that proposed designation.


By way of introduction to the report, the Executive Member highlighted the significance of the proposals, which followed the deputation presented to Full Council by care leavers on 17th January 2024. It was noted that the designation of care experience as a locally protected characteristic was part of a national campaign, and if adopted Leeds would be the 77th Local Authority to do so. It was also noted that the report recommended the establishment of an implementation group to develop and deliver this work, with an undertaking being given that care leavers would be invited to play a key role in that process.


Members welcomed the proposals within the report and reiterated their thanks to the care leavers who presented their deputation to Full Council. 


Responding to an enquiry, it was confirmed that provision would be made to enable cross-party representation on the implementation group.



(a)  That it be recognised that care experienced people are a group likely to face discrimination;


(b)  That ‘care experience’ be enshrined as a locally protected characteristic, and that all other local organisations and partners be called upon to treat ‘care experience’ as a locally protected characteristic to be adopted with the Corporate Parenting Principles;


(c)  That it be agreed that the Council will amend its Equality and Diversity Policy to include ‘care experience’ as a Locally Protected Characteristic;


(d)  That it be agreed that the Council will amend its Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) process and associated guidance, to include ‘care experience’ as an additional category to be considered for any changes or improvements to future services and policy;


(e)  That it be agreed that the Council will include ‘care experience’ in the publication and review of Equality Objectives and annual information relating to protected characteristics;


(f)  That agreement be given to delegate responsibility to the Director of Children and Families, in consultation with the Executive Member for ‘Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships’, to set up a time limited implementation group which will develop an action plan, co-produced with care experienced individuals, to support Council services to embed the amended Equality and Diversity Policy and EIA guidance and establish a cross-Council approach to creating opportunities for care experienced people.

Reason Key: Affects more than 1 ward;

Portfolio Holder: The Executive Member for Children's Social Care and Health Partnerships

Other reasons / organisations consulted


Contact: Patsy Burrows, Head of Service Children Looked After Email: Email:

Report author: Patsy Burrows

Publication date: 09/02/2024

Date of decision: 07/02/2024

Decided at meeting: 07/02/2024 - Executive Board

Effective from: 17/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: