9 May 2024

Join us in calling for a Commissioner for Older People

During the course of the year we will be sharing information on our campaign focus areas. Those topics we feel strongly about and are fighting for on behalf of our members.

This month we are discussing the need for a Commissioner for Older People in England and Wales, as there is in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The support people need in later life from institutions like the NHS, social care and social security systems is critical, but no single government department can respond to these needs alone, especially as our population ages.

That is why we are joining other age sector organisations in calling for an Independent Commissioner for Older People and Ageing, as part of an overall strategy to tackle the challenges faced by older people now and in the future, and to offer those who need it advocacy and legal support.

In England, nearly 90% of over-65s surveyed by Age UK support establishing such an office, and a consensus statement calling for the creation of a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing has been signed by 70 charities and member-led bodies.

These include ageing, disability and health charities, as well as trade unions and care home providers. Our member organisations – the Civil Service Pensioners’ Alliance (CSPA), the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) and the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP) – are all signatories to the statement.

In 2008, Wales became the first country in the world to appoint an independent Commissioner for Older People and Ageing, followed by Northern Ireland in 2011. These commissioners’ statutory functions are to promote awareness of the rights and interests of older people, challenge discrimination, encourage best practice in their treatment, and to review the law affecting the interests of older people.

Older people must have a voice to ensure governments address the policy challenges they face in a way that best suits their needs. All too often, this is not the case; in 2022, Age Scotland found that ‘only one in five older people feel valued for their contribution to society, while more than a third feel that life is getting worse for older people.’

Without a single, authoritative voice to speak up and advocate for older people, the issues faced by over-65s can easily be ignored or simply overlooked by decision-makers. Older people in England and Scotland need a commissioner.

We’re calling for:

Following examples set by Northern Ireland and Wales, for the UK Government to create a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing for England and Scotland. The Commissioner would hold the UK and Scottish governments to account, and provide a voice for older people.


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