A Sure Start to Later Life: ending inequalities for older people

The final report from the Social Exclusion Unit, published on 26 January 2006, details cross-government policy to address the exclusion, poverty and isolation experienced by older people. Drawing on the Sure Start model created for children and families, the aim is to locate a single, accessible gateway to wide ranging services in the community, where potential problems can be identified quickly and prevented from becoming worse.

A pilot programme called 'Link-Age Plus' funded by the Department for Work and Pensions will test out the Sure Start approach for older people. The schemes will operate for two years in Devon, Gateshead, Gloucestershire, Lancaster, Leeds, Tower Hamlets in London, Nottinghamshire and Salford Councils. Age Concern, Help the Aged, the Local Government Association and other groups are part of a steering group to oversee the scheme. The model will also be piloted through other programmes including Partnerships for Older People Projects, Local Area Agreements and supported by the White Paper on Primary and Community Care. The directors of adult services are to be given responsibility for addressing social exclusion among older people.

Agreed government action covers a range of initiatives to promote inclusiveness including:

  • a plan to increase take-up of entitlements, and review definitions and indicators of pensioner poverty in relation to the the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review
  • new guidance as part of the White Paper on Primary and Community Care on improvement of the take up of services amongst older people
  • building on a commitment to provide greater focus on joint commissioning between health and social care, and better integration with other local goverment services
  • examining the role of advocacy in delivery of services
  • more flexible transport that meets older people's needs
  • free smoke alarms and sprinkler systems
  • options for a new government Office for Older People and Ageing Policy with responsibility for an observatory on ageing
  • policy development on carers and analysis of participation by older people in sport, culture and leisure will be published later in 2006
  • strategies on housing and older people in late 2006 and 2007

Other documents linked to the final Social Exclusion Report report provide further background information.

David Miliband's speech on 'Older People, Active Communities'

A report annex which identifies the economic case for preventative services

ODPM has published the National Centre for Social Research's secondary analysis of ELSA data relating to the theme of social exclusion.



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