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Joining Up Joining In with Rutland County Council

7 Dec 2023

During the summer peer researchers on the Joining Up Joining In project at Leicestershire Cares started a piece of research exploring people's views and opinions on protecting those of care experience under the Equality Act 2010. Since completing the research and sharing the findings key decision makers and teams from across our local authorities have been in touch to discuss the findings. Rutland County Council got in touch wanting to find out more about the work by bringing some of their young people to Leicestershire Cares. The peer researchers shared their findings and discussed some of the key issues and themes that came out of the report “Care experience as a protected characteristic?”

It was nice to meet care experienced people and professionals from another county to see that our experiences of what needs to be improved are similar.

Peer researcher

Thank you so much for hosting us last might- it was a great evening.  It will be great to work with you to move this forward and hopefully get some more of our young people involved with you.

Emma Sweeney, Head of Children's Social Care, Rutland County Council

The room was buzzing, with seven young people from Rutland, two peer researchers, plus interpreters, carers, workers and the head of service all together to explore:

  • Care experience as a protected characteristic.
  • What Participation is and what it means for us?
  • How Peer Research works

The young people got to discuss why they thought being care experienced should or shouldn’t be a protected characteristic. Some of the points they made were:

To be treated equally
To have the same as being in a family
To reduce discrimination
To have less chance of being taken advantage of


The group also heard from Terry Galloway, founder of Care leaver Local Offer, on his national campaign for making care experience a protected characteristic. Terry campaigns to enable young people to speak up, so that people in society, beyond social workers and personal assistants, can understand better the issues that face care experienced young people.

As of December 2023, care experience has been recognised as a protected characteristic by over 70 councils across England and we hope that Rutland, Leicester and Leicestershire will too.

After hearing all this information and discussing the issues, the young people (and the adults!) got to enjoy pizza together!

Following this some of the young people did a podcast together to share what they had learned.

So we're not discriminated when we apply for jobs.


Thank you so much for joining us yesterday it was a pleasure to meet you. We really appreciated your enthusiasm and willingness to discuss this topic with future outcomes for young people in mind. ”

Aidan Croughwell-Burton, Leicestershire Cares

The next steps are for Rutland, Leicester and Leicestershire to work towards pledging care experience as a protected characteristic, and then working out what this will mean for young people in practice.

Our peer researchers will soon be hosting a podcast to discuss and share their findings.

Click here to read our report:

For more information about Leicestershire Cares and our work, visit or search @LeicsCares on X or Instagram or contact or