Behind the headlines

The government is considering a national strategy for older
people along the lines of the initiative for children. The
strategy, which could be in place by the end of the year, is likely
to outline objectives that all departments and ministers will sign
up to promote. It will aim to ensure all policies have older
people’s well-being at their core and promote independence and

The government has also confirmed plans to fund research into
the prevalence of elder abuse and proposed performance measures on
how councils tackle the issue.

Martin Green, chief executive, Counsel and

“I welcome Stephen Ladyman’s announcement of this strategy.
However, there have been attempts in the past to deliver this
objective and they have had mixed results. I hope this strategy
will come with clear and measurable objectives and money from the
Treasury. Central to delivering choice and independence is income,
and the government must develop a strategy that addresses the need
for an adequate and predictable income in retirement.”

Julia Ross, social services director, London Borough of
Barking and Dagenham

“It’s reassuring that government is joining up its thinking and
policies. I was disappointed that the National Service Framework
for Older People failed to pick up on primary and community-based
care and promoting well-being for elderly people. This new move
will address that in spades. Professor Ian Philp, as older people’s
‘tsar’, has worked wonders to tie up policies and approaches both
in the Department of Health and across boundaries. It will also
help address concerns that the DoH has no strong social care voice
any more. And it will tie in with the intentions of the NHS to
become more focused on health and well-being.”

Felicity Collier, chief executive, Baaf Adoption and

“The key to any successful social care strategy is
cross-departmental government sign-up and recognition that
achieving quality standards for services for older people may
require a radical reallocation of resources. At the least, we must
have a nationally agreed minimum fee for care home beds, and the
same amount available for support at home. Most of all, older
people should develop the strategy.”

Karen Squillino, primary prevention co-ordinator,

“There are many parallels between the needs of children and older
people in respect of protection. It makes sense to use the strategy
outlined in Every Child Matters as a blueprint for a strategy for
older people. In addition, though, there needs to be consideration
of the fact that many older people are ‘invisible’ in society as
they are not accessing community resources and services.”

Bob Hudson, professor of partnership studies, Health
Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham

“If the penny has dropped that partnership-working applies to
central as well as local agencies, we mustn’t look a gift horse in
the mouth. But, there is much more to this than reconciling values,
principles and objectives across policies. It also means addressing
differences in performance management frameworks, budgetary
timetables, human resources policies, training and development
issues and information systems. Splitting social care into
different silos for children and adults respectively risks creating
as many problems as it solves.”

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