Headlines: July 23rd, 2007



Wales is leading the way in ensuring the public sector can provide the best possible services to an aging population with the appointment of a Commissioner for Older People. It is believed to be the first time such a post has been created anywhere in the world and comes a step nearer with the publication of advertisements for the job.

The Commissioner will ensure that all levels of public services deliver what is best for older people so they can live as full a life as possible and to ensure they are engaged in the community as active citizens. The succcessful applicant is expected to take up the post by the end of this year.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy Health and Social Services Minister, Gwenda Thomas, said the post would mean the interests of people over 60 in Wales were safeguarded and promoted. Specifically the Commissioner will act as an ambassador and an authority on older people’s issues, speaking up on their behalf and helping to resolve problems when they arise. She said changing demographics meant that by 2026 approximately 29 per cent of people in Wales would be over 60 and the new appointment would put those people at the centre of all policy making.

“I am delighted that Wales is leading the way and setting an example for others to follow. Wales was the first to appoint a Children’s Commissioner to give children and young people a stronger voice and now we are the first to have a Commissioner to champion the interests of older people,” she said.

The Commissioner will be supported by statutory powers that will include a review of the impact of public services on older people and methods of examining reasons and remedies when things go wrong.

The Chairman of Age Concern Cymru, Mike Talbot, said they wanted the new Commissioner to create an environment in which older people themselves could influence the way in which important public and private services were managed and delivered.