Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of Health
National Positive Ageing Strategy Implementation
170. To ask the Minister for Health if he has communicated the revised arrangements for the implementation of the national positive ageing strategy to stakeholders; if stakeholders views on same will be taken into account before finalisation of the revised arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2048/17]
The National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS), published on 24 April 2013, provides a framework for cooperation to address age-related policy and service delivery across Government and society in the years ahead. The Strategy is intended to promote older people’s health and well being so that older people can continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and family life in their own communities for as long as possible, thereby representing a vision for an age-friendly society. The Strategy highlights that ageing is not just a health issue, but rather requires a whole of Government approach to address a range of social, economic and environmental factors that affect the health and well-being of our ageing citizens. The Department of Health has an overall coordinating and collating role for the Strategy and a more direct role for the health-related objectives.
At the launch of the Strategy, a commitment was made to publish an Implementation Plan to facilitate the translation of the Goals and Objectives of the Strategy into action on the ground. The approach to implementation originally included in the Strategy would have worked where a finite number of discrete and concrete steps could be taken after which the implementation could be deemed complete. However, many of the objectives included in this Strategy are quite broad, and can be viewed as a set of principles to which Government has committed, and which will inform policies that affect older people on an indefinite basis into the future, rather than concrete objectives that can be delivered in the short term.
The Department has therefore formulated new arrangements to implement and monitor the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy. The new proposals will see mechanisms established that will give stakeholder groups effective and on-going access to Government Departments and State Agencies relevant to older people. Structures will be established for engagement between relevant Government Departments and State Agencies and relevant stakeholders on how the Strategy’s principles are being implemented. An Annual Forum for stakeholders will be established which will seek to identify what stakeholders consider to be their key priorities for Government for the coming year and the next three years. Issues will be considered on a thematic basis and will include Health, Social Protection, Transport, Security, Community Housing and Local Government, etc. Clear channels of communications will be established with relevant Government Departments assigning a named senior official to engage with stakeholder representatives on issues relevant to their remit.
The revised arrangements were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Public Service Reform on 27 October 2016. In advance of this, I held a meeting with organisations representing the needs and views of older people at which the organisations were informed of the plans for the revised implementation arrangements, including plans for an annual stakeholder forum. These plans were well received by the organisations, and it was agreed that an annual forum could be a useful tool in moving the implementation of the NPAS forward. Details of the new arrangements will be communicated to these stakeholders shortly and arrangements made to commence implementation. It is anticipated that the inaugural forum will take place in early 2017.