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8 February 2023

All Party Group on Ageing and Older People hears update on Reform of Adult Social Care public consultation from Department of Health officials

text APG on Ageing and Older People 8 February on yellow background with screenshots of Zoom calls

Wednesday 8 February 2023

The All Party Group on Ageing and Older People chaired by Claire Sugden MLA, met virtually on Wednesday 8 February 2023. The first meeting of the group in 2023 brought together more than 70 attendees including elected representatives, senior departmental officials and a wide range of stakeholders representing community, voluntary and statutory organisations including Commissioner for Older People, Department for Communities, Public Health Agency and Councils. Older people from Age NI Consultative Forum, local age sector networks, the ICTU-Retired Workers Committee and National Pensioners’ Convention also attended the meeting.

MLAs who attended
  1. Claire Sugden, MLA - APG Chairperson
  2. Colm Gildernew, MLA - APG Vice-Chairperson
  3. Robbie Butler, MLA - APG Secretary
  4. Andy Allen, MLA
  5. Kellie Armstrong, MLA
  6. Diane Dodds, MLA
  7. Ciara Ferguson, MLA
  8. Liz Kimmins, MLA
  9. Nuala McAllister MLA
  10. Paula Bradshaw MLA
  11. Jemma Dolan MLA
  12. Danny Donnelly MLA
  13. Alan Robinson MLA

Before moving on to the main business of the meeting, APG Chair Claire Sugden MLA presented an update on the very successful “Meet the Sector’ Stakeholder Event held in Parliament Buildings on Monday 30 January 2023, with over 30 MLAs in attendance engaging with a range of older people and representatives from the age sector.

Claire Sugden MLA welcomed Mark McGuicken, Director of Disability and Older Peoples Services, Department of Health and Jillian Martin, Reform of Adult Social Care Team Lead, Department of Health to the meeting. The RASC team provided a 20 minute presentation to update Members on the consultation including the responses to it and the priority themes.  This was  followed by 45 minutes of  questions and discussion. Mark stated that the consultation analysis report from the 2022 Reform of Adult Social Care consultation would be published by the end of February 2023.

Questions and discussion

Following Mark’s presentation there were a number of questions from members of the All Party Group around issues including:

  • funding
  • charging for adult social care
  • development of an Integrated Care System
  • implementation of reforms
  • workforce
  • domiciliary care
  • training and standards within Direct Payments scheme
  • scaling up new models of good practice in the third sector
  • Carers’ Strategy.
Thanks to speakers, members and stakeholders

Before closing the meeting, Chair Claire Sugden MLA  thanked the speakers, the members, and all those who attended:

Thanks to  everyone who attended and participated in todays meeting.  Clearly the large turnout is indicative of the levels of interest and huge concern among people about much needed and long overdue Reform of Adult Social Care. This is an issue which is impacting older people families and households all over Northern Ireland. We know that adult social care, when delivered effectively, supports vulnerable adults to live with dignity and helps prevent and address pressures elsewhere in our overworked and struggling health system. We know that the current system is broken and this is having a hugely detrimental impact on so many across society, including older people.

And while we continue to exist in Northern Ireland without a functioning Executive or Assembly, the challenges and urgency for reform of adult social care continue at pace.  Therefore we were delighted to welcome Mark and Jillian from the Department of Health to update us on what progress is being made.”

Next steps

Chair Claire Sugden MLA closed the meeting by thanking all stakeholders for their engagement with the All Party Group this year and advised that it is anticipated the next meeting will take place in March 2023, and will include an update from the Department for Communities on the Active Ageing Strategy.

It was also noted, following on from discussion within the meeting, that the Chair will write to the Department of Health Permanent Secretary to follow up on actions arising from today’s meeting.

Find out more about the All Party Group on Ageing and Older People

Further information on the All Party Group on Ageing and Older People, including links to read more about previous meetings, is available here.

Age NI provides the Secretariat for the All Party Group on Ageing and Older People – correspondence to or 028 9089 2623.


Last updated: Apr 04 2023

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