Older People's Strategic Action Forum minutes: November 2017

Minutes from Older People's Strategic Action Forum meeting in November 2017.

Items and actions

Item 1: Welcome and introductions

The Minister set out her aspiration that this group become the basis for supporting  the Scottish Government to develop a more coherent and action-focused agenda in relation to older people.

She invited each organisation represented to outline the key issues as their organisation views them for older people.

The Minister made some remarks on what she had heard:

  • substantial work still to do on changing perceptions and reframing around the positive contribution that older people make
  • the forthcoming social isolation and loneliness strategy would build on community-based responses. While this is a cross-generational issue, engagement with groups represented at this meeting would take place
  • welfare and its uptake continues to be important, as demonstrated by on-going campaign and supporting local work. The new social security agency will have a focus on engagement
  • aclear voice for older people in relation to health and social care integration is essential. She will write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to obtain information on engagement of older people on the joint boards and circulate that to the group (ACTION)

Item 2: Remit of the proposed Older People’s Action Group

The alignment of this group with others hosted by Scottish Government was discussed, in particular the Older People’s Development Group, with the latter focussing specifically on health and social care. The Minister emphasised that she saw this group as being an overarching one, which enabled her to take forward her role as the Scottish Government Minister with overall responsibility for older people. It was agreed that this strategic role would be reflected in the group title (ACTION)

The importance of being able to follow issues through to effective implementation was highlighted, with the suggestion that this meant that involving delivery partners (for example local government and third sector intermediaries) would be useful. The Minister agreed that inviting such parties on an ad hoc basis, when the group had matters to discuss with them, would be useful. In a similar vein it was suggested that the EHRC could make a valuable contribution.

It was agreed that a meeting of the group with the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, to discuss the impact of Brexit on older people, would be arranged (ACTION). 

Age Scotland highlighted an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill being supported by them and other third sector organisations and it was agreed that this would be circulated to the group (ACTION).

The Minister stated that, while the normal meeting pattern for the group might be twice per year, she envisaged it meeting more frequently initially and that she was sympathetic to costs being met for travel to these meetings of volunteers. Meeting location and timing will be planned as far as possible to facilitate participation and minimise travel costs.

On that basis the remit for the group was agreed.

Item 3: Discussion paper

It was agreed that the title and initial context of the paper should reflect the remit of the group and its overall focus on action to ensure a positive aging experience, with dignity and respect (ACTION).

It was suggested that part of reducing the barriers that older people face should include structural change, such as how systems are focused through performance indicators and other drivers.

On that basis the paper was broadly agreed as a basis for development of further work by the group.

Item 4: Action and next steps

The Minister stated that the group would be invited to meet again in the new year. This would give the group an opportunity to discuss the social isolation and loneliness strategy consultation and to confirm the priority areas on which it would focus.

Having heard contributions from the group, the Minister provisionally identified the following as areas for priority action which she felt had emerged:

  • the voice and experience of older people in health and social care integration
  • changing the framing of older people’s issues to focus on positive contribution
  • removing barriers to a positive aging experience


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