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London Age Friendly Forum response to the launch of the Mayor's Age-friendly action plan

Published on 27 November 2023 02:12 PM

London Age-friendly Forum response to the Mayor of London’s Age-friendly Action Plan

The London Age-friendly Forum is a forum made up of organisations led by and representing older Londoners. The Forum was established to develop the voluntary and community sector’s contribution to making London more age-friendly. 

The members of the Forum are made up of Age UK London; Civil Service Pensioners Alliance, Greater London Forum for Older People, London region of U3As, Positive Ageing in London, Wise Age and members of the National Pensioners Convention 

LAFF response 

The London Age-friendly Forum (LAFF) is generally pleased that after many years of work there is a plan and a document which sets out what older people want across the different age-friendly ‘domains’. LAFF is keen to make the plan a live plan which demonstrates the positive and perceived value to older Londoners across the Capital. 

LAFF will be keen to see how the plan will lead to concrete improvements to the lives of older Londoners and in particular, tackling the current poverty and economic security challenges facing many older people. 

LAFF wants older Londoners to feel that they are engaged in making London a genuinely age-friendly city, and that this engagement continues to be championed by the Mayor. 

We see the launch as the start of a broader process of ensuring that policy making and services across London truly reflect older people’s needs.  

LAFF wants to assist the Mayor to ensure this action plan is a success. We have applied a number of ‘tests’ to the plan with recommendations to raise its importance across London boroughs and to engage with older Londoners. 

  1. Maximising the expertise of older people in shared ownership of the action plan 

The success of the plan depends on it being seen as making a tangible difference and something that is jointly owned by older people’s representatives. We recommend: 

  • A significant promotional plan rolled out to older people in London spearheaded by the conspicuous leadership of the Mayor. 
  • Member organisations of LAFF assist with implementation plans of the various domains, as well as with the review the annual report.  
  • Regular progress is documented in a newsletter for older Londoners. 

2. Creating effective outcomes for the action plan 

The plan demonstrates tangible impacts across all its areas. We recognise that  many of the actions are only within the Mayoral orbit and within existing GLA programmes but LAFF would encourage the Mayor’s Office to continue to use their influence to engage with London boroughs and in particular those who are not engaged or less engaged in the Age-friendly programme. Further recommendations are: 

  • Provide details of the intended time frame for implementing actions for each domain along with the planned outcomes and any relevant targets.  

 3. Implementing the plan across London policy making  

As the plan states the Mayor is doing what he can to make London age-friendly but to make London truly we would encourage the Mayor to ensure that other stakeholder and partners such as Transport for London and the London boroughs along with agencies play their part. Our recommendations are:  

  • Devising a mechanism across London led by the Mayor involving different partners including London Councils to progress age friendly policies and monitor the plan across London. This could take a number of forms and will be appropriate to London. Other cities have this type of forum which seem to work well. This forum could report to the London Partnership Board.  
  • Ensuring each domain has a clear implementation plan that engages all stakeholder and encourages them to do their part to make London an Age Friendly City. The plan could be jointly owned by the GLA and London Councils (and other relevant partners such as TfL). 

4. Measuring what works 

The various actions will only be able to show visible progress if they can be assessed. We recommend: 

  • The plan has a section on evaluation providing key metrics for each domain and allows comparisons in future years. 
  • The plan and annual reports document the base line information on actions. 
  • The updating of the plan at each interval includes relevant research on older Londoners (e.g., Age UK London poverty and well-being reports). 
  • LAFF assist with qualitative feedback from older Londoners on the ‘performance’ of different domains. 

5. Reporting on the progress of the plan and reviewing and reshaping the plan. 

It’s unclear to LAFF what the time frame of the plan is and how it will be formally evaluated? We recommend: 

  • The plan is geared around a five-year period but is reviewed each year. 
  • There is an Annual Report on Age friendliness documenting progress but also good practice, lessons learned. LAFF would convene older people’s organisations across London to provide scrutiny of the annual reports. 
  • A plan is devised through London Councils how to evaluate London borough performance (at some points in the plan reviewing London Borough actions is proposed but this is not systematic across all the actions).  
  • The London Partnership Board receive an annual report which is also reviewed by the London Assembly.  

6.Rolling out and implementing age friendly principles within the GLA 

One key test of the overall action plan will be whether it has a positive impact on how the GLA takes into account older people in policy making. How will the plan be implemented in each of its sections and departments? We recommend that accompanying the plan is a clear assessment and mapping of how the plan connects in with GLA strategic plans and the current Equalities objectives. This should include: 

  • How the plan shapes GLA Directorate planning. 
  • How Anchor Institutions will be engaged and how the plan shapes the LAIN planning?  
  • London Councils need to apply a similar approach to how they collectively review the plan for London Boroughs. 

7. Ensuring GLA staff understand and act upon age-friendliness. 

Our experience is that older people’s needs aren’t always recognised in policy making. The key tests of the plan are: how will GLA staff be engaged with the plan and what awareness training on age issues for GLA staff is being undertaken? We recommend that: 

  • LAFF assist in awareness training for the cohort of GLA officers responsible for age issues. 
  • LAFF co-ordinate rapid feedback on suggested measures and changes to the plan