The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is today launching an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on foster care workers’ rights .
The APPG will hold a number of sessions dedicated to evaluating whether legislation needs to be amended to extend the employment rights of the UK’s foster care workers. The IWGB will ask that the group create a Foster Care Workers’ Rights Bill to extend these rights.
The IWGB will also propose that a central register for foster care workers in England be created, which would standardise training, allocate resources more efficiently, and reduce the prevalence of unfair procedures against carers.
The APPG’s 18 members represent the full range of the political spectrum and includes two cross bench peers, a Tory, DUP MP, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Chair of the DWP Select Committee Frank Field MP, former Minister of State for Employment Relations Norman Lamb MP, as well as a number of Labour and SNP MPs. The APPG will be chaired by Labour MP Ian Mearns.
While the IWGB has been successful in extending the rights of foster care workers through strategic legal action, enshrining these vulnerable workers’ rights in primary legislation would remove the burden of continuing to litigate for years.
The creation of a central register would take the the responsibility for training, registration and de-registration out of the hands of the employers: the local authorities and and Independent Fostering Agencies. Currently, foster care work is the only trade were the regulator and the employer is the same entity.
This means standards vary wildly between different local authorities and decision on registration and de-registration can be left in the hands of a small group of unaccountable decision makers.
IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “For decades foster care workers have been deprived of the right to statutory holidays, whistle-blowing protection and other rights which would benefit not only them, but also the children in their care. With the launch of test case litigation, a landmark tribunal win against Glasgow City Council and the damning indictment that was the education select committee report on fostering in England, we are now starting to see a tectonic shift in attitudes. The launch of this APPG is long overdue and will finally focus the minds of a cross-section of the UK parliament on addressing the issue of employment rights for foster care workers.”
The first session will be held today between 13:30 and 15:00 at Room P, Portcullis House, 1 Parliament St, SW1A 2JR
The full list of members is:
Ian Mearns MP – Chair (Labour)
Norman Lamb MP – Vice Chair (Liberal Democrat)
Stewart McDonald MP – Vice Chair (SNP)
Earl of Listowel Francis Michael Hare – Vice Chair (Crossbench peer)
Sir Peter Bottomley MP – Vice Chair (Conservative)
Caroline Lucas MP (Green)
Carolyn Harris MP (Labour)
Steve Reed MP (Labour)
Baroness Neuberger (Crossbench peer)
Frank Field MP (Labour)
Neil Gray MP (SNP)
Jim Shannon MP (DUP)
Bill Esterson MP (Labour)
Steve McCabe MP (Labour)
Helen Goodman MP (Labour)
Diana Johnson MP (Labour)
Matt Western MP (Labour)
Carol Monaghan MP (SNP)
Emma Hardy MP (Labour)
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