and improving the lives of all of us requires change, with an approach to
improving services for older people needing leadership and modernisation
that extends beyond traditional boundaries.
These are just two of the findings in a joint Local Government Association
and Association of Directors of Social Services discussion paper published
today at the beginning of this year's annual LGA/ADSS National Social
Services Conference in Brighton.
`All our tomorrows' details the progress made so far in building better
services for older people and sets out a positive vision of the way forward.
It is well known that the population of the United Kingdom is getting older
with people living longer and expecting much more from their lives and the
services that they use. Local authorities have a key role in responding to
the needs of older people with demand already having a major impact upon
Alison King, chair of the LGA's Social Affairs and Health
`The LGA together with the ADSS is committed to involving older people in
the development of services and believe that older people should be
empowered to be full partners in ensuring that there is a greater range of
flexible services which give them a greater choice in care together with
confidence in public services.
`I sincerely hope that this discussion paper promotes wide debate that will
help progress the national debate about the future of social services for
The paper shows how the social services community is fully committed to the
principles of opposing ageism, developing person centred care, working in
partnership with users and carers and the development of inclusive services.
For local government, social services and the social care community,
creating robust and responsive services that will meet the needs of today's
and tomorrow's old er people poses significant challenges and new
David Behan, president of the ADSS said:
`This is an important document which will shape new and emergent policies
over the coming decade. It will help us all in our task of radically
modernising our approaches towards older people, making our services even
more responsive to their needs, and our responses even more sensitive to
their identities as individual citizens.`
Recommendations contained in the document include:
Changing legislation and regulation - Services such as good accessible
housing for older people, good access to health care, safe communities and
good public transport involve a mixed economy of providers and types of
service, that it may be necessary to change the regulation of services. Both
associations want to see the opening of a dialogue and discussion with
government and key stakeholders in re-thinking a modern social policy
framework to support the ageing population.
Establishing the vision and changing the direction - The future vision
requires that the balance is shifted from focusing on acute care and the
most frail elderly to focusing on promoting the wellbeing of all older
Tackling age discrimination - Continuing to tackle discrimination against
older people and developing positive images of ageing will involve
challenging and changing attitudes to older people in the wider community.
Changing the way services are commissioned - There is a need to develop a
community based framework for commissioning universal and specialist
services involving community members and organisations covering social
services, health, housing, leisure, education and the independent and
Changing the way services are governed - It is important that there is a
coherent framework for decision making and accountability at a local and
national level. Better co-ordination is required within governmen t
departments and an older people's partnership board should be established by
each local authority to ensure that there is clear accountability and
responsibility for strategic developments and co-ordination of resources.
Changing the way services are delivered - In future services need to be user
driven, delivered in partnership with others, integrated, community based,
flexible and easily accessible. Universal services need to be reviewed by
the older people partnership board.
Changing the workforce - If a more integrated approach to tackling
priorities is to be developed, partnerships and networks need to be built
across a wide range of agencies. The workforce needs to be multi-skilled and
multi-disciplinary with a greater understanding and appreciation of roles,
responsibility and the need for training and workforce planning.
Changing the investment in older people - Different ways of funding services
for older people should be considered and should be based on the principles
of equity, sustainability, the provision of minimum standards, work
incentives and incentives to provide community care. Promotion of wellbeing
and the development of preventative services for older people should be seen
as a core function of all agencies with a clear budget that should be
determined at a national level.
The joint national conference entitled `The challenge of change - outcomes
for people' takes place at the Brighton Metropole Hotel from today until Friday.
Speakers include health secretary John Reid, education secretary Charles Clarke and Audit Commission chairman James Strachan.
Click below to read any of the features from LGC's Social Care Special part 1: