Cymru Older Peoples Alliance (COPA) have today published a new framework for engaging older people in the development of Age Friendly Communities (AFCs) in Wales. You can find this framework here.
Creating an Age Friendly Wales is a national policy introduced last year by Welsh Government as part of its strategy to address the implications of our ageing population. This World Health Organisation initiative requires local Council leaders to commit to creating age friendly communities (AFCs) in their areas with funding that has been provided by Welsh Government.
The COPA Framework promotes sound principles and fair expectations about how older people are engaged in AFC recognition and development and to provide a broad basis for Councils and older people to collaborate. It is not intended to create any “national” rules or procedures to follow but to establish some consistency in the approach taken to engaging older people.
The Framework sets out five criteria for engagement, all of which have a series of quality statements to provide clarification. A key requirement is that older people are engaged co-productively from the outset of any policy or service change, not by a process that sees us as passive recipients or involves us when convenient or after key decisions have already been made.
This Framework has been developed with Older Peoples Forums and Groups in Wales and in collaboration with the Commissioner for Older People. The Commissioner Heléna Herklots today said
“I welcome the publication of COPA’s new Framework for Engagement, which has been developed by older people and draws upon their extensive knowledge and expertise about what good engagement looks like.
The Framework provides a great deal of useful and practical information that will support public bodies and organisations to collaborate and engage with older people throughout Wales more effectively, which will be hugely important as they develop their plans to make our communities more age-friendly.
Resources like the Framework are crucial to help ensure that older people’s voices and experiences are not only heard, but are also used to guide decisions and support action to make Wales an age-friendly nation.”
We want to see a collaborative approach taken in Wales to how older people are engaged and would welcome discussions with Councils and other charities and groups representing older people.