A summary of the group's purpose.
Welsh Government has a long history of supporting older people in Wales; from the introduction of the first Strategy for Older People in Wales in 2003, to establishing the world's first Older People's Commissioner in 2008.
The Welsh Government’s Strategy for Older People 2013-2023 (Phase 3) aims to promote living longer and living better by focussing on 3 main priorities identified by older people in Wales; to have the social, environmental and financial resources to age well.
The Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing (MAFA) has supported and monitored the implementation of the strategy. The Forum, originally called the National Partnership Forum for Older People in Wales, was set up in 2004 to support collaborative working between older people’s organisations and a range of professional bodies. The Forum also provided advice to Ministers that can lead to improvements in the lives of older people in Wales.
In light of the implementation of the Social Services and Well Being (Wales) Act 2014, the Well Being Future Generations (Wales) Act 2014 and the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016, a new Strategy for an Ageing Society is being developed to take account of the impact of this legislation whilst also addressing the key issues that affect older people in Wales.
Covid-19 has meant that the public consultation of the new strategy, which was planned for April 2020, had to be put on hold in order for Welsh Government officials to concentrate on work that was directly related to the pandemic. The current document is being revisited in light of the pandemic to give consideration to how services have changed and what they look like for older people going forward.
Role of the MAFA
MAFA will report to the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services who has responsibility for cross governmental issues relating to older people within her portfolio.
MAFA will provide expert and informed advice to the Welsh Government on the:
- progress and impact of the Strategy for an Ageing Society
- areas where additional action must be taken to improve the well-being older people and
- new or emerging issues not referenced in the Strategy that could impact negatively on older people
During the current climate, three “virtual” MAFA meetings of the “core” group will be held each year. The seminar style events which were originally planned to be held at a community venue and open to a wider group of older people are currently suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however Age Cymru is considering alternative ways to engage with older people whilst social distancing guidelines remain in place.
A new Chair, appointed by the Deputy Minister, will drive the work of the Forum forward and provide additional scrutiny.
No members or the Chair are publically appointed.
The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales will have observer status.
The core group will have a fixed membership of approx. 20 individuals. 50% of membership of this core group will be comprised of older people. The remaining 50% will be comprised of professionals. All core’ group members will be expected to:
- represent their organisations / representative groups at meetings and use this as a basis for providing informed advice
- feed back to their organisations / representative groups following meetings
- influence a positive culture in their respective organisations to encourage action to support an ageing population
- provide a focus and impetus for the debate of and support for the development of effective policies to benefit older people
- share good practice from their organisations / representative group
- challenge and discuss ideas and policies effectively
Members may wish to invite other organisations to contribute to the development of specific aspects of the work programme as necessary; this will involve the establishment of sub-groups for undertaking specific pieces of work.
Once re-established, seminars will be open to older people with a specific interest in the issues being discussed. There will be no fixed membership. In order to ensure the process for inviting attendees to the seminars is fair and transparent, Welsh Government has asked Age Cymru to help with their organisation and delivery. Age Cymru will publically advertise the events and reach out to older people that do not have direct involvement with MAFA.
The aim of the seminars will be to update older people on key issues relating to the Strategy for an Ageing Society and to hear their views on its implementation. Age Cymru will draft a report of each meeting which will be shared with the ‘core’ MAFA group. This will ensure MAFA’s work is informed by the daily experiences and views of a broad range of older people.
Travel and subsistence
Travel and subsistence will be paid to older members only who attend meetings in a voluntary capacity. The cost of overnight stays may be available on request depending on individual circumstance or distance travelled.