Agenda item

Motions on Notice - Decision

1)     Somerset Council to treat care experience as if it were a protected characteristic.

2)    Discounted youth bus pass for 16 to 25 year olds.


Somerset Council to treat Care Experience as if it were a Protected Characteristic Motion


Councillors Leigh Redman introduced the Motion and noted the following:-

·       The role of all Councillors as a corporate parent.

·       The Council had undertaken much work of late, including the Care Leavers Covenant.

·       The need to revisit the Care Leavers Covenant to ensure it remained fit for purpose.

·       The importance of Councillors supporting the Motion.

·       The Motion included some pretty harrowing statistics like the UCL study which showed 70% of care experienced people died early or ‘Become Charity’s’ research that showed over 50% of people who were in custody up to the age of 21 had been in care or the facts contained in the Independent Review of Children's Social Care that showed a quarter of the homeless population was care experienced. 

·       The Motion was already being adopted by Councils around the country, taking the issue into their own hands. 

·       That the Motion was not seeking to change legislation, but that it was hoped this would happen in line with one of Josh McAlister’s recommendations in his independent care review. 


The Council discussed the Motion and the following points were raised:-

  • Councillors thanked Councillor Redman for the Motion.
  • Councillors welcomed the Motion.
  • Councillors highlighted it was about the principles over and above corporate parenting.
  • Councillors agreed it was right for the people of Somerset and the country.


Councillor Leigh Redman proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor Frances Nicholson.


Having been duly proposed and seconded the Council RESOLVED to approve the following:

1)     That the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer ensured that all council making decision documentation had in it appropriate sections to allow for the impact upon ‘care experienced people’ to be considered in decision making, where relevant and that:

2)    Officers considered how information might be captured and reported to council.

3)    Any publication of information relating to people who shared a Protected Characteristic also included ‘care experienced people’

4)    To proactively seek out and listen to the voices of care experienced people of all ages when developing new Council policies and plans and, where possible, those where the Council produced them in partnership with others.

5)    To request that the Chief Executive, as Head of Paid Service, explored with the Director of HR how the Council could seek to guarantee all care experienced persons an interview where they met the essential criteria of the post applied for.

6)    That the Executive Member for Children and Families wrote to all public bodies represented in the Council area to make them aware of this motion and, where possible and within available resources, offer training on corporate parenting and issues facing care experienced people and to work with our partners and our care experienced population to understand what corporate parenting meant for them.

7)     And further the Executive member should write to Somerset MPs making them aware of this motion and asking them to press government to amend the law to include Care Experienced persons as a Protected Characteristic and for the extension of Corporate Parenting to all public bodies, following the recommendations of the MacAlister Report.

8)    That the Chief Executive, Senior Directors, and Monitoring Officer attend a Corporate Parenting Board meeting early in the next council year to report on the actions taken as a result of this motion on notice.


Commit to working with bus operators across Somerset to establish a Somerset-wide discounted bus pass for 16-25 year olds


Councillor Diogo Rodrigues introduced the Motion and noted the following:-

·       He firmly believed that young people should have access to affordable and reliable bus travel throughout the entire year, and regardless as to whether or not they were in education.

·       The current limited availability of youth fares, coupled with challenging costs, had deterred many young people from using the local bus services. The Bus Service Improvement Plan survey revealed that 38% of 16 to 25-year-olds cited cost as the primary reason for not using buses more frequently, with a staggering 44% stating that they did not use local buses at all. 

·       By simplifying bus travel and making it more accessible and affordable for young people with a single county-wide youth buss pass, we not only addressed their concerns but also aligned with our commitment to decarbonise the county through greener transport options.

·       That accessible and affordable bus transport also held immense potential for young people, particularly those living in rural communities who often faced social isolation. By providing them with reliable means to connect with education, employment, and social activities, we could foster greater community cohesion and break down barriers of isolation.


The Council discussed the Motion and the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors strongly agreed with the Motion.

·       Councillors agreed that it was important that reduced bus fares were offered to all young people and not just those in education.

·       Concern was raised on the reliability of the bus services in the county.

·       Councillors highlighted that some rural areas did not have a bus service for young people to use.

·       The Lead Member for Transport and Digital agreed with all the comments but suggested a discounted pass should be introduced at the point the current national £2 reduced fare scheme ended.


Councillor Diogo Rodrigues proposed the recommendations which were seconded by Councillor John Hunt.


Having been duly proposed and seconded the Council RESOLVED to approve the following amended recommendation: This Council reaffirmed its commitment to working with bus operators across Somerset to establish an affordable Somerset-wide discounted bus pass for 16 to 25-year-olds.

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