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Commissioner for Older People

Along with a number of other organisations, Age Scotland is campaigning for a Commissioner for Older People for Scotland. 

The Commissioner would strengthen older people's voices and act as an independent champion ensuring they’re considered in decisions made right across Government.

You can read a consensus statement about why this is important here.

We have long held the view that a Commissioner is needed in Scotland and asked prospective MSPs ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election to back this proposal.

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What is the role of a Commissioner for Older People?

Podcast: Why we need a commissioner

Colin Smyth MSP discusses the reasons he wants to see a Commissioner for Older People with Age Scotland's Jo and Adam.

A Commissioner would be appointed by Scottish Parliament to act independently of the Scottish Government to protect the rights of older people. They would have scope to focus on a range of issues that are important to older people - for example highlighting ageism and age discrimination, ensuring access to services including health and social care, tackling poverty, and challenging digital exclusion.

The role would involve:

  • Raising awareness of the interests of older people in Scotland and of the need to safeguard those interests.
  • Promoting the provision of opportunities for, and the elimination of discrimination against, older people in Scotland.
  • Encouraging best practice in the treatment of older people in Scotland.
  • Keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law affecting the interests of older people in Scotland.
  • Undertaking investigations into how service providers take account of the rights, interests, and views of older people in the decisions they take and the work they do in relation to devolved matters. 

Why is Age Scotland calling for a Commissioner?

Scotland's population is ageing, and we know for too many older people in Scotland things are getting worse. Services are struggling to cope with demand, the finances of older people are increasingly stretched, and many older people continue to experience age discrimination and fail to have their rights safeguarded. 

We believe a Commissioner for Older People, who is independent of Government and an expert advocate for older people, can help to change all of this. We want Scotland to follow the good example of Wales and Northern Ireland, and establish a Commissioner for Older People as a matter of priority. 

7 in 10

18-24 years olds support a Commissioner for Older People for Scotland

Polling by YouGov for Age Scotland


of over 50s want an Older People's Commissioner for Scotland set up. Just 3% oppose this.

Age Scotland's 2023 Big Survey

Proposed Commissioner for Older People (Scotland) Bill

On 13 June 2023, Colin Smyth, MSP for South of Scotland, launched a consultation to gather support for establishing the role of a Commissioner for Older People in Scotland. The consultation will run until 23rd October 2023.

The first step is to generate a positive response to the consultation from members of the public, organisations, and groups. Add your voice and show support by reading the consultation document and responding to the consultation. You can use the briefing document produced by Colin to guide you through each question. 

Following this, if the response is positive, Colin Smyth will be able to lodge a proposal to introduce a Bill. If there is enough parliamentary support from other Members of Scottish Parliament, the Bill can move forward another step closer to becoming a reality. The proposal must be supported by at least 18 MSPs from across different parties.

You can support this by writing to your MSP and encouraging them to support the proposal. Find out who your MSP is and how to reach them here.

How can I get involved?

Sign our campaign petition

Take action by adding your name and join the campaign for a Commissioner for Older People in Scotland by signing our petition. We will be able to keep you updated with progress on the Bill.

Need to get in touch?

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about this campaign, please get in touch - / 0333 323 2400

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