Three of NUPFC members are bringing a landmark Tribunal claim for foster carer’s employment rights. The Employment tribunal has heard the factual evidence on 20 to 28 June 2023. Such is the importance of this claim the Government, Secretary of State for Education, has intervened and has given evidence. The parties are back in December 2023 to make legal submissions.

Our foster carers have a top legal team fighting for their rights; Jacqueline McGuigan of TMP Solicitors, Rachel Crasnow KC and Chris Milsom (both of Cloisters). These lawyers have acted in previous landmark decisions in the Supreme Court regarding employment status issues relating to Pimlico Plumbers and Gilham (whistleblowing rights for Judges).

Our members are bringing claims regarding whistleblowing, discrimination, holiday pay, national minimum wage (and other claims). The Local Authorities are arguing that the employment tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear these claims because foster carers do not work under a contract. This defence dates back to a 25 year old Court of Appeal case in W v Essex County Council [1998] 3 WLR 534 that said that foster carers do not work under contract. This case has the effect of depriving foster carers the right to bring employment claims. With our support our members are seeking to overturn this decision which is the first real and effective legal challenge in 25 years.

Alternatively, the foster carers argue that the denial of employment rights amounts to a breach of their human rights which cannot be justified. Whistleblowing and discrimination claims are basic human rights such as the right to free speech, and the right not to be discriminated against on a wide range of grounds including ‘sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status’. Our members should not be denied the right to bring these claims in the cost-free jurisdiction of the employment tribunal.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission support the claimants in this ongoing litigation of public importance.

A MASSIVE thank you from all of us! Join us and help us achieve fair rights for foster carers and become a member.