Government needs to listen to older people’s commissioner

The government should be obliged to listen to the new
commissioner for older people in Wales, charities have warned,
writes Chloe Stothart.

The legislation to establish the office, which had its second
reading in the House of Lords last week, does not set out a formal
communication procedure between the commissioner and

At present, the commissioner will have the power to investigate
complaints and review how local authorities, the Welsh Assembly and
the NHS carry out their duties towards older people.

The Welsh Assembly will be required to respond to the
commissioner’s findings.

However, on issues that have not been devolved, such as pensions
and benefits which are still controlled by Whitehall, the
commissioner could only make comments to the Welsh Assembly which
could then relay the message to the UK government. Whitehall would
not be obliged to respond.

Sarah Stone, Age Concern Cymru’s head of public affairs
said: “The government should at least make a publicly
available response of some kind to what the Assembly

Lord Livsey of Talgarth said: “Pensions, benefits and
employment are not within the scope of the Assembly or the Welsh
Assembly Government. These functions are crucial to the wellbeing
of older people in Wales, yet the commissioner will have very
little or no impact.”


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