Older People's Strategic Action Forum minutes: February 2019

Minutes from Older People's Strategic Action Forum meeting in February 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Diana Findley, Scottish Older People’s Assembly
  • Caroline Clarke, Scottish Older People’s Assembly
  • Elinor McKenzie, Scottish Pensioners Forum
  • Adam Stachura, Age Scotland
  • Ashleigh De Vurteuil, Age Scotland
  • Bill Johnston, Scottish Seniors Alliance
  • Dorothy Murray, Scottish Seniors Alliance
  • Sandra Martin, Scottish Seniors Alliance
  • Lesley Carcary, Action on Elder Abuse
  • Maruksa Greenwood, LGBT Health and Wellbeing
  • Anne Connor, Outside the Box
  • Alison Clyde, Generations Working Together


  • Rohini Sharma Joshi, Trust Housing Association
  • Eileen Cawley, Scottish Pensioners Forum
  • Maureen O’Neill, Faith in Older People
  • Suzanne Munday, MECOPP
  • Rose Jackson, Scottish Pensioners Forum
  • Marian Sapcote, Soroptomists International

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome and introductions

The Minister welcomed attendees, thanked everyone for coming to Glasgow and noted that there was a really positive outlook for the meeting.

SSA noted frustration around receiving papers for the meeting last minute as attendees were unprepared and requested that future papers be circulated earlier. SPF agreed. Officials apologised and explained that the delay was to ensure the most updated version of the framework could be shared. 

Item 2: Round up of OPSAF engagement

OPSAF members who bid for funding in October were invited to give a brief summary of the activities they had taken forward as a result. Apologies were made for some delays with the funding process - some stakeholders needed to be re-registered in the Scottish Government’s financial system.

GWT had conducted interviews with care homes, care home staff and pupils to see what their different experiences were.

SOPA agreed that timescales were challenging but had arranged an event on the 4 February – 'Identity, Connection and Choice' in which 25 people attended. At this event, attendees were asked to complete a questionnaire to gather data on the barriers and stigma older people face as well as the positive contributions that they face. This questionnaire also went out on digital platforms so for access reasons the results are likely to be slightly skewed but over 330 responses have been received.

OTB had held a series of events focusing on rural areas which focused on policies that apply to older people. The most prominent take away from this was the desire to be engaged in all policy across the board and that older people felt as though they were cut off from engaging in policies such as Education, despite feeling as though it was relevant to them.

The Minister spoke about an event at Dunbar Academy and noted the importance of intergenerational work and how successful it can be.

SSA asked if intergenerational work would be incorporated into the curriculum for excellence and said that the short-term intergenerational projects are more damaging than they are positive. SSA suggested that the Minister discuss this with Ministerial colleagues.

Minister explained that older people’s issues cut across every Ministerial portfolio and she had already initiated conversations with Ministerial colleagues. Minister noted SSA’s point on short termism and agreed that long term options could be explored.

EF pointed out the flexibility in the Curriculum for Excellence and explained that although intergenerational work could be incorporated, there is flexibility for teachers to choose what areas of the curriculum they take forward.

SPF outlined that they had used funding to investigate bullying of older people in the workplace. They launched a question which has received over 500 responses. Findings so far indicate that the worst affected by bullying in the workplace are women working in the public sector. Findings also suggest that bullying in the workplace is having a massive effect on family life and mental health and respondents didn’t feel able to address the issue with their place of work. This work also included the Scottish Hazards Group and SPF are looking into further work on equality related training with STUC.

EF explained that the Fair Work Convention are very interested in older people’s experiences at work and a meeting will be taking place with them soon regarding the framework.

MG, LGBT health and wellbeing asked about equality related data being gathered in this study and stressed that if the discussion is taking place equality needs to be considered.

Minister explained SG have been taking forward work on the menopause and how this affects women in the workplace. Outlined that recent findings suggested over 50% of people felt unable to talk to their boss about menopause and that the majority of organisations don’t currently have a menopause policy in place. Minister confirmed SG taking action on this and all work will feed in to the fair work plan headed up by Jamie Hepburn MSP.

BJ, SSA asked officials if there was an update on September action point 4. KM explained that discussions had taken place with Social isolation and loneliness policy officials and that OPSAF would be provided with an update as this progresses.

BJ, SSA asked about September Brexit action point and expressed concern that mitigation and the impact of Brexit in Scotland doesn’t seem to be being discussed. SSA asked the Minister if the Scottish Government are putting pressure on the UK Government about this. The Minister explained that SG are putting the pressure on and outlined the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People’s recent work on pensions and welfare in terms of Brexit. Minister also explained that Keith Brown MSP asked a direct question to the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations about this in the Parliament Chamber on 19 February 2019

DM, SSA said that if the UK Government won’t answer the questions then the Scottish Government should and noted that the only thing in terms of older people being discussed around Brexit is the lack of European care home staff post-Brexit.

AEA explained that AEA held an event for older people on St Andrews Day which welcomed 90 participants. The event focused on the safety and wellbeing of older people and a survey was carried out for those who could not attend. One finding was that answers to the survey majorly differed to answers provided on the night – the thoughts on this are that people felt embarrassed to be honest when in person. The main themes in the answers were lack of community spirit towards older people, housing policy, financial abuse and the lack of guidance and clarity around power of attorney. AEA also visited a care home to discuss the survey with dementia sufferers and their families. AEA engage on a daily basis with police, council, local authorities etc. about their concerns regarding older people and have had a campaign on tougher prosecution for people that target older people.

Minister outlined the specific points in the Hate Crime Review on older people and vulnerability and said that the hate crime consultation closes this coming Sunday (24 February 2019).

MG said that LGBTHW did not bid for funding but have been taking forward a collaborative piece of work with Illuminate Scotland which will be published in the summer.

Minister stressed that the Framework is only the beginning in terms of work on older people.

BJ, SSA suggested moving straight to item 4 due to time pressures and the importance of the item.

There were no further comments on OPSAF engagement.

Item 3: Older people's representation meeting 

Item not addressed.

Item 4: Thoughts on the draft framework

Minister acknowledged that SSA had requested for older people’s views to be heard in a similar manner to social security experience panels and suggested the Social Isolation and Loneliness shadow group could be used as a basis for a similar Framework related group.

OTB suggested reversing sections 2 and 1 of the framework and starting off with the section on communities -  the current order of the Framework dove into older people and health and social care and that this was not helpful in terms of challenging negative perceptions of older people.

MG agreed that creating a positive narrative and highlighting the positive contribution of older people is important. MC also noted that the section on volunteering could be strengthened and expressed concern about the lack of detail on carers.

KM confirmed that the section on carers is still under discussion with other policy areas and a more detailed section will be inputted in the near future.

BJ, SSA asked whether the First Minister could be asked to provide a quote for the Framework to raise its profile. BJ commented that pages 16 & 17 were very good.

MG suggested putting ‘challenging discrimination’ before LGBT section.

AEA said that they would like to see more on the financial security section including financial abuse and adult support protection.

DM, SSA expressed concern about the use of “inactive” on page 6. EF confirmed that this should already have been deleted and will not be in the final draft. EF explained that different officials had been working on the lines but that all language used in the Framework will be checked before it is finalised.

BJ, SSA suggested “A nation that is combatting ageism” as a subheading for the framework.

AEA said that they found USA was big on older people’s rights and expressed concern that there doesn’t seem to be a single piece of Scottish/UK legislation just for older people. Could the Framework lead to legislation?

EF said the UN do have a convention on older people but the UK Government are not required to be assessed on it. EF wondered if there could be route through the Human Rights Task Force?

OTB outlined that legislation specifically dedicated to older people can often be limiting for older people and can prevent them from living how they want to.

BJ, SSA said that as older people are now considered 50 plus, specific legislation would cut across a lot of other legislation. BJ also said that this kind of legislation runs the risk of separating older people from the rest of society.

BJ asked if Scottish Independence will be factored into the framework and wondered what the effect on older people’s policy would be. The Minister confirmed that people are looking in to Human Rights in an Independent Scotland and how we can protect our European rights after Brexit.

MG said that it wouldn’t be necessary to frame it in a constitutional manner as this is based on attitude changes.

ADV, Age Scotland noted that they would like to see lines on attendance allowance.

SOPA expressed concern that there was no mention of food and nutrition or sensory impairment. CC went on to say the aspirations outlined in the Framework must be deliverable. Minister advised Digital exclusion was yet to be drafted – it was highlighted to us that there are a lot of pressures on people to take part digitally. Minister said the Cabinet Secretary SSOP announced 100 new members of staff to support this work.

AS, Age Scotland said that a strategic aspiration for the framework could be that it should be treated in the same way as the armed forces covenant which has been signed up to by all governments of the UK and all Scottish Local Authorities. The Covenant states that “those who served in the armed forces… should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services.” The Minister said that she was meeting the Unforgotten Forces Consortium in the afternoon to discuss this (20 February 2019)

EM, SPF commented that regarding page 16 on strengthening local democracy, local democratic structures could be made better and this section is not strong enough. EM also raised concerns about the local government review as SPF don’t want to see privatisation of services which could affect local communities - concerns that it would undermine local accountability.

Minister said officials to provide an update for OPSAF on local governance review and democracy matters.

EF apologised for the late turnaround of the meeting papers and asked attendees to contact officials with any further comments they had about the draft Framework. EF also asked attendees to let officials know if they had no further comments.

AC, OTB asked if March was a realistic timescale for the publication of the Framework and noted concerns about officials workload. Wondered if it would be sensible to delay it for a couple of weeks in order to process feedback.

EF commented that though feedback was necessary, it will be a Government document and final lines will be decided on by Officials ultimately.

Minister suggested a stock-take exercise on March 1st so officials could have  a clear picture of what information is still required.

DM, SSA asked the Minister to ensure graphics are checked before publication to avoid unhelpful/stereotypical images being used. Minister said she was happy for OPSAF to see graphics ahead of publication.

DF, SOPA asked if there were any plans for a launch event for the publication. Minister explained that there will be a full comms strategy on how we launch the document which officials were working on.

Minister thanked members for their participation and gave mention to SSA for their work as an organisation given that this will be their last meeting.

Action points:

  1. The Minister is to speak to Mr Russell regarding the impact of Brexit on older people and officials to report back to OPSAF members.
  2. Officials to provide an update for OPSAF on the local governance review and democracy matters.
  3. Officials to carry out a stock-take exercise on 1 March 2019 to determine how much information is still required for the Framework.


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