Department for Work and Pensions
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A direct line for older people to shape Government policy

A direct line for older people to shape Government policy

DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS News Release (PENS 093) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 3 February 2009

Older people are to have a bigger say in developing central, regional and local Government policies announced Rt Hon Rosie Winterton, Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society today, in response to John Elbourne's review of older people's engagement with Government.

A new national UK Advisory Forum on Ageing will give older people a direct line to Government to comment on new policy ideas, services, legislation and what areas they feel the Government needs to address. The Forum will be co-chaired by the Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP and the Minister of State for Care Services, Phil Hope MP. It will have a clear focus on helping to improve the wellbeing of older people and addressing the opportunities and challenges of an ageing society.

Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP said:

"An ageing society, where one in four children born today are likely to live beyond 100, has far-reaching consequences and provides new opportunities and challenges for us all.

"As the balance between generations changes we need to ensure the voices of older people are clearly heard. We want to enable older people to shape Government policies that affect their lives at the national, regional and local level. The new national UK Advisory Forum on Ageing, supported by a stronger regional and local network, will provide a clear route for older people to channel their views from grass roots to Government, and help make this happen.

"Giving a voice to the concerns of local people is central to our new structure. Older people will have a direct line into Government at local, regional and national level.

"Across the country the reality of an ageing society means we need to put in place a plan of action that will enable public services to deliver what people need and that our towns and cities are places for everyone, not just the young.

"Our new structures will give people a real voice about issues that concern them. Whether it is wanting to change something on their street to something in their town centre, we want to see Government at all levels being able to meet that challenge and I want the public to play their part in shaping policy."

The UK Advisory Forum on Ageing, co-chaired by Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP and Phil Hope MP, will include ministers from other Government departments, organisations of and for older people, older people themselves, regional forums, the devolved administrations and local government organisations.

A designated lead regional coordinator will support local older people's forums, who will work with them to set up Regional Forums, play a vital role in addressing regional issues and provide a channel of communication between local and national Government.

Better Government for Older People set up in 1998, believes in improving public services for older people by involving them in the process. Following John Elbourne's review, they are planning to become independent. The DWP will support them to make a smooth transition into independence.

Notes to editors

1. 'Empowering engagement - a stronger voice for Older People, the Government response to John Elbourne's' review can be found at
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/resourcecentre/ind_review_older_peoples_eng_with_govt.asp

2. John Elbourne was asked by Pensions Minister Mike O'Brien in May 2008 to "examine the current arrangements for the engagement of older people and the ability of those arrangements to inform policy and actions of Government at all levels". Specifically, this was to include examining Better Government for Older People. He published his 'Review of Older People's Engagement with Government' on 18 November 2008 which can be found at:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/resourcecentre/john-elbourne-181108.pdf

3. John Elbourne was chief executive of Prudential Assurance UK from 1996 to 2001. He was appointed a non-executive director of the DWP's Pensions Client Board in December 2006.


DWP Press Office 0203 267 5144
Website http://www.dwp.gov.uk
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