Welsh commissioner to get more powers

Campaigners have won a major victory in gaining more powers for the Welsh older people’s commissioner.

The government has amended the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill, which will create the post, so that the commissioner will be able to investigate whether an older person’s dignity has been denied or hindered by a person, service or organisation.

The bill originally only gave the commissioner powers to investigate offences against older people, but older people’s groups lobbied for it to be changed.

Sarah Stone, campaigns manager at Age Concern Cymru, said the dignity powers were important because “some of the treatment older people can receive in care homes may not break the law”.

However, campaigners failed in their further efforts to ensure that the Welsh assembly and UK governments were required to respond within a set timescale to reports and recommendations from the commissioner.

Stone said: “We have written assurances in committee that there will be communication between the two offices but that is still reliant on goodwill and we’d have liked to see a more formal agreement.”

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