WE THANK THE OFFICE OF THE OLDER PEOPLE’s COMMISSIONER FOR WALES
FOR FORWARDING THIS INFORMATION TO WHERE IS THE CARE
Dear Katie – from the Enquiries and Support Team for the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
The role of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is to be an independent voice and champion for older people across Wales. To make sure that those who are vulnerable and at risk are kept safe and to make sure that all older people have a voice that is heard, that they have choice and control, that they don’t feel isolated or discriminated against and that they receive the support and services they need. We want Wales to be good place to grow older, not just for some but for everyone.
The role of Older People’s Commissioner was established following calls and campaigning from a wide range of groups and individuals representing older people and, more importantly, older people themselves. Subsequent consideration and consultation around how a role of this kind might work in practice led to the development of legislation to establish the role of Commissioner, which would be underpinned with unique statutory powers. The Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Act received Royal Assent in 2006, paving the way for the world’s first Older People’s Commissioner to be appointed in 2008.
Establishing the role of Commissioner marked a significant step forward, recognising that many of the challenges and issues faced by older people are unique to this demographic and that traditional mainstreaming approaches were not effectively addressing such issues or delivering the changes needed to meet the needs of an ageing population.
Ensuring that the role of Commissioner was independent of Government was also both significant and apposite: the Commissioner’s priorities would be driven by the voices of older people, driven by evidence and research, and not influenced by party-political policy or ideology. This is vital so that the Commissioner can hold public servants to account effectively at all levels, driving change both nationally and locally.
The role of Older People’s Commissioner for Wales was created in 2008 with a range of powers to help improve the lives of older people in Wales.
This is the first Commission of its kind in the world and we are pioneering work that can be followed internationally. Many groups and individuals worked hard to bring this independent post into being, and the Commissioner’s powers reflect their serious intent to challenge the barriers and discrimination that face older people.
The Older People’s Commissioner has four formal functions, as laid down in the legislation that established the Commission in 2008:
- To promote awareness of the rights and interests of older people in Wales.
- To challenge discrimination against older people in Wales.
- To encourage best practice in the treatment of older people in Wales.
- To review the law affecting the interests of older people in Wales.
The work of the Commissioner is driven by what older people say matters to them and she stands up and speaks out on their behalf.
The Commissioner also provides direct support in a number of ways:
- Helps put older people in touch with organisations best placed to resolve their issue.
- Intervenes directly if an older person has been experiencing difficulties with a service provider
- Supports an older person to make a formal complaint
It is the Commissioner’s role to ensure that the issues that matter to older people are being addressed. She does this through working in partnership with a wide range of bodies, through developing good practice, but also through reviewing, scrutinising, challenging and where appropriate, laying down standards that she expects to be met.
For more information about the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales go to www.olderpeoplewales.com
WHERE IS THE CARE SAY:
DON’T WE NEED AN OLDER PEOPLE’s COMMISSIONER FOR ENGLAND?