The Way Forward
What are our priorities?
The new Board of Trustees has agreed its priorities and a new Business Plan for 2019-20. The main priorities that will be targeted cover:
- the on-going review of COPA structures – in light of Welsh Government Review of Engagement of Older People in Wales
- Effective relationships with other National Older Peoples Organisations
- Effective relationships with the Older People’s Minister and new Commissioner for Older People
- Working with Fora and Groups across all parts of Wales
- Increasing Voting Members and Trustees
- Establishing Regional COPA Groups and their Role and Structure
- Improved Communications
- Maximising capacity available to develop COPA through Trustees and recruiting Voting and Forum Members to support COPA’s work
- Holding an Annual General Meeting and Publishing an Annual Report
What are our ambitions?
Our strongest public benefit is enabling Older People to have the confidence and access to change the conversation about ageing in Wales to one that is lead from the experience of Older People about their needs and what works best for them.
Over the next year it is vital to improve communications, to raise awareness of who we are and what we do. We will want to be able to influence how decisions affecting Older People are made and ensure their voice is heard at the initial planning stage of national policies and initiatives. This includes improved communication with all the local 50+ Forums and Groups across Wales.
We are not in any way a politically motivated organisation –we are entirely neutral politically but it is essential that all sides understand the facts of the matter hearing it directly from Older People. We have therefore consulted on a Manifesto for Older People in Wales and sent it to all new political Leaders in Wales in February 2019. Establishing a website in October, issuing a newsletter, updating our leaflet, creating a new logo and publishing this narrative are the main communications priorities to date.
We have good links with the other Older People’s organisations through Trustees but we want to improve partnership working so that there is a strong dialogue and interchange of information with sister bodies and there are consistent messages about what needs to change to improve the lives of Older People.
We believe that working in partnership is the only way forward and will always aim to co-operate and engage with other Older People’s organisation to ensure a coherent voice is heard from Older People in Wales.
What have we done since we became a Charity?
Good progress has been made in the transition period since we became a Registered Charity in October 2017. A Board of 7 Trustees including 2 co-opted trustees meet regularly. Our Charity is now up and running and fully functional.
The COPA Board has decided an urgent priority is to strengthen its capacity so have issued an advert and a full open recruitment process for a replacement co-opted trustee for North Wales and an elected Trustee to fill the vacancy in the Gwent Region. We have also issued an invitation for Voting and Forum Members to volunteer to work with the COPA Board to tackle new priorities.
Key achievements of COPA Include:
- COPA co-produced with the Older People’s Commission Guidance on “Making Wales a nation of age-friendly communities” (revised 2018)
- A COPA Manifesto for Older People in Wales – sent to political leaders in Wales
- Policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Charity Commission requirements including new policies on:
- Welsh Language
- Travel and Subsistence
- Code of Conduct
- Conflicts of Interest
- Financial Control and Risk Management
- Complaints Procedure
- A Code of Practice for Trustees agreed and signed by Board members
- We have secured continuing Welsh Government funding
- Age Cymru are providing our Secretariat and Business Address
- Financial and risk management systems put in place
- Discussions with other national organisations for older people on a joint working concordat inspired by COPA
- Commencement of a comprehensive review of COPA structures
- Business Plans agreed for 2018-19 and 2019-20
- A new logo
- Launch of a new Website charitycopa.com
- A new bilingual COPA leaflet produced
- A successful AGM in Llandudno arranged by COPA and attended by the new Commissioner for Older People and 65 delegates
- An increase in our Voting Members from 23 to 32 and from 12 Forums to 16 out of 22 Council areas
- Position papers on Paying for Care, Access to the NHS for Older People and Isolation and Loneliness published following consultation with Forums.
- 5 members on the Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing
- Membership of 3 sub-groups helping to shape the new Action Plan on Ageing in Wales
- Our Annual Report and Financial Statement agreed at our AGM and published to the Charity Commission website
There are a range of key policy issues where we monitor developments and secure COPA involvement and intervention where needed:
- Review of Strategy for Older People
- Development of National Framework for Ageing Society
- MAFA Review
- Review of Engagement Structures for Older People
- Promoting Age Friendly Communities
- Working with Ageing Well
- Isolation and Loneliness
- Paying for Care
- NHS and Older People
- Care Home Quality of Care and Life
- Implementation of SSWB Act 2014
- Public Toilets Strategy implementation
What are we doing to engage Forums in North Wales?
Cymru Older People’s Alliance (COPA) became a Registered Charity in October 2017. Our new Board of Trustees immediately prioritised improved engagement in North Wales. Susanne A Jones joined us as a Trustee for Gwynedd and has been active since our inception as a charity. We also have 2 Voting Members in each of Conwy and Flintshire. We also appointed Sue Wright, specifically as a North Wales Co-opted Trustee to increase our links with Forums and Groups. Sue had to resign for personal reasons recently and we are currently advertising for a replacement, again specifically as a North Wales post. We held our first ever board meeting in Mold and our first AGM in Llandudno which was attended by 65 people including the Commissioner for Older People. Additionally, since November we have on a regular basis sent updates and requests for comments on various issues to all North Wales Forums. Where the Forum has no Voting Members, we have sent the emails to the local council Strategy Co-ordinator instead to pass on to their group. Finally the Board have recently agreed a Welsh Language Policy that meets the Welsh Language Board requirements and gives us a pathway to becoming a bilingual organisation.
Whilst this may be a starting point, we recognise that we have not done enough to convince all Forums in N Wales about COPA. We became a charity at the Welsh Government’s instigation to become a national voice for all older people’s forums. Subject to the recently commenced Welsh Government Review of Engagement of Older we will hopefully be creating Regional COPA Groups next year. Feedback from North Wales suggests there is a need for two Regional Groups – West and East – to cover all the Council areas. We will of course take this into account.
The COPA Board have discussed making an application for grant to Awards for All (National Lottery) to promote COPA with N Wales Forums as well as to help Forums themselves to make more local linkages and develop initiatives. An application for up to £10,000 could be made. However, we can only do this on a partnership basis with the N Wales forums and with their direct involvement. This will be another priority for the next 12 months for COPA
COPA Board June 2019