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MODERNISATION AND LEADERSHIP IS THE KEY TO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE

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Meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population ...
Meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population

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

them.

Alison King, chair of the LGA's Social Affairs and Health

Executive said:

`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

older people.'

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

opportunities.

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

people.

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

voluntary sectors.

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:

BUCKING THE PARTY LINE

OUTSTAYING YOUR BED

HEALTHY INTEREST

BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE

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