Only one in four social services departments look set to meet
the government deadline to appoint a champion for older people,
Community Care can reveal.
A straw poll of 20 UK social services departments revealed only
five who could provide the name of an appointed “older person’s
champion”, in each case selecting a local councillor.
Three departments said they were in the process of appointing
someone, and 12 said they knew nothing about the initiative,
despite a requirement to make an appointment by 30 June.
The national service framework for older people requires social
services departments, health departments and NHS trusts to appoint
a champion, to look after the interests of older people.
Older people’s groups this week accused the Department of Health
of failing to support the initiative properly.
An Age Concern spokesperson said the department had not issued
sufficient guidance on the role of older person’s champions.
Meanwhile, the National Pensioners Convention questioned the
idea of older person’s champions if they are not backed up with
resources to implement the national service framework.
Jonathan Ellis, health policy officer at Help the Aged, said:
“It does beg the question about the commitment of an organisation
if they haven’t appointed someone to lead on older people. Older
person’s champions are an important part of the success of
implementing the rest of the national service framework.”