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GIVING OLDER PEOPLE A VOICE - PILOT PROJECTS LAUNCHED

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New pilot projects launched today will lead the way in improving ...
New pilot projects launched today will lead the way in improving

older people's quality of life by tackling crime, improving access to

information, helping them live independently and promoting a healthy

lifestyle.

The 28 pilots across the UK are part of a unique partnership, the

first of its kind to bring together representatives from central and

local government and private and voluntary sectors, with older people

themselves.

They will focus on improving public services - health, social

services, social security, employment, housing, education, transport

and leisure - by making services more user-friendly, giving older

people a voice and recognising the contribution they can make to

society.

The pilots, led by local authorities but including many other

partners, include tackling crime (Solihull); improving access to

learning (Lambeth, London); helping older people live independently

on their own (Waverley, Surrey); promoting the arts and healthy

living (Sheffield); improving the environment and housing (Bury,

Lancs) and setting up older people's forums (Hartlepool). Launching

the Better Government for Older People programme at a conference in

London David Clark, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, said:

'The pilots will play a key role in driving forward the

government's programme and formulating our strategic policy for older

people in the long-term. We are determined to create new local

partnerships and to learn from local initiatives.

'This is a ground-breaking initiative aimed at transforming

public services for older people and meeting the major challenge for

governments of an ageing population into the new Millennium.

'The programme is an opportunity for us all to see what works,

to learn from each other and draw out lessons for policy at national

and local level. We are determined to find a new way of working with

people, so that government begins with the needs of the citizen and

not the provider.'

The UK-wide initiative also aims to change attitudes to older people

by encouraging and recognising the contribution they make to their

local community and celebrating them as achievers.

The number of older people in the UK is rising. Currently one in five

of the population is aged 60 and over. That will rise to one in four

by 2010. And to one in three by 2025.

The pilots will run initially for two years. The government will

publish a Best Practice Guide in April 2000, to encourage further

local initiatives to draw out policy lessons nationally. The Better

Government for Older People programme is being sponsored and steered

by a partnership of five organisations; the Cabinet Office (Office of

Public Service), Age Concern, the Anchor Trust, the Carnegie Third

Age Programme, and the Warwick University Local Authorities

Consortium on Ageing strategies.

Sally Greengross, director general of Age Concern England, said:

'Older people are the best people to tell politicians about the

services and support they need. The initiative will provide forafor

airing the issues which will affect both today's and tomorrow's older

people.'

John Belcher, chief executive of Anchor Trust, said:

'We feel the programme will promote the independence of older

people by highlighting local, innovative pilot schemes which involve

older people in policy making, development and delivery of the

services they want.'

Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Local Government Association,

said:

'The local authority pilots demonstrate that local government is

leading the way in working with other organisations to address the

needs of all sections of community.'

NOTES

1 The Better Government for Older People programme is part of the

Better Government initiative: a White Paper will be published later

in the year. The aim of the programme is to improve public services

for older people by better meeting their needs, listening to their

views, and encouraging and recognising their contribution.

2 A small team headed by Programme Director, Martin Shreeve, will

develop co-ordinate, monitor and evaluate the local pilots and will

work closely with them.

3 The programme will be monitored and evaluated by the Local

Government Centre at Warwick Business School, which is also

responsible for the evaluation of the Government's Best Value pilot

programme.

4 The pilots were announced by Peter Kilfoyle on 26 March. The pilot

authorities are:

England

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, Lancs

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, Lancs

Coventry City Council

Devon County Council

Hartlepool Borough Council

London Borough of Hackney

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough of Harrow

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Lambeth

Middlesbrough Borough Council

City of Newcastle upon Tyne

North Yorkshire County Council

Nottinghamshire County Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Sheffield City Council

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Warwick District Council

Watford Borough Council, Herts

Waverley Borough Council, Surrey

Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council

City of York Council

Scotland

Scottish Borders Council

South Lanarkshire Council

Stirling Council

Wales

Cyngor Sir Ynys Mon/Isle of Anglesey County Council

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

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