NUPFC The National Union of Professional Foster Carers

  • London Borough of Bexley
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:30th October 2021
  • Country: United Kingdom

NUPFC The National Union of Professional Foster Carers

A guide to the government-approved and certified trade union for foster carers

NUPFC National Union of Professional Foster Carers

1. Introduction to The National Union of Professional Foster Carers

In June 2021 The National Union of Professional Foster Carers (NUPFC) became the first government-approved and certified trade union for foster carers.

2. History of NUPFC

In 2017 Mr Robin Findlay set up the NUPFC, in doing so recognising the need for foster carers to have their own union body. He launched the National Union of Professional Foster Carers.

However, when he approached the Trade Union Certification Officer (a government organisation that registers official trade unions) to register the NUPFC they declined to do so on the basis that a union had to be made up ‘mainly or wholly of workers’.

A worker is deemed someone who has a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for reward (the contract doesn’t even have to be written). They receive a reward for their work, either money or benefit in kind, they aren’t doing the work as part of their own limited company where the ‘employer’ is actually a customer or client and can not subcontract their work to others nor can they work for anyone else.

Given that we have a written contract with the fostering provider (called the Fostering Agreement) and also given that we fulfil all the other requirements to be classed as ‘workers’, the NUPFC decided to legally challenge the decision.

3. The NUPFC v Certification Officer

The Employment Appeal Tribunal 2019 The case went to court in 2019, apart from the NUPFC there were four other organisations that joined the case as intervenors. They were the Secretary of State for Education, the Local Government Association, the European Children’s Rights Union and the IWGB (Independent Workers of Great Britain) who witness statement was from Sarah Anderson, the then Chair of the IWGB Foster Carer Worker’s branch.

September 6th 2019

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) handed down a judgement and upheld the Certification Officers decision. The EAT reviewed previous case law and followed the precedent set by W v Essex County Council (1998) in which they held that foster carers did not work under a contract, the EAT considered itself bound by this line of authority.

Therefore in not considering foster carers workers, it was upheld that they could not have their own union.
The NUPFC decided to appeal the decision.

Court of Appeal 2020

The court of appeal was held in London over 2 days.

April 22nd 2021

The Court of Appeal overturned the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) and the new decision was that all foster carers that undertake placements in accordance with the 2011 fostering regulations were in an ‘employment relationship’ with their fostering services.

The Court of Appeal ruled that refusing to allow the NUPFC official union status was a breach of Article 11, the Freedom of assembly and association, where everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests.
In his summing up Lord Justice Underhill said:

The FosterWiki page on this judgement and the ruling in full can be found here: https://fosterwiki.com/wiki/the-rights-of-foster-carers/

June 2021

The union officially becomes the first government-approved and certified trade union for foster carers.

4. About the NUPFC

Just like any trade union, the NUPFC provides assistance and service to their members. It provides support and representation in allegations, works with their fostering agencies to improve pay and conditions for all foster carers and campaigns for foster carers’ rights and status.

The union say:

5. What do the NUPFC foster carers trade union offer?

    • Protection and security.
    • Representation during any allegation or standards of care complaints process.
    • Support in daily issues relating to your foster carer role.
    • Solutions to problems between you and your local authority or agency.

The NUPFC constitution and rules

National Union of Professional Foster Carers (NUPFC) – Constitution and Rules 07/2021

6. How do I join?

Here is the link to join the union https://www.nupfc.com/membership

foster carers National Union of Professional Foster Carers NUPFC Professional Foster Carers trade union Union