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Departments: Planning

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps are taken by his Department to include (a) older people and (b) people with disabilities in strategic planning, policy making and the delivery of the services they use. (132908)

The Government's strategy on older people and ageing, “Opportunity Age” was first published in March 2005. A series of consultation events at which the views and ideas of older people were sought has been invaluable in shaping that strategy.

DWP is piloting a “LinkAge Plus” programme, to test ways of building fully integrated services from health and benefits to leisure and learning. Eight pilots (led by local authorities) have been looking at ways of joining up government for older people. LinkAge Plus puts older people at the heart of the process in identifying effective models that meet their needs and aspirations and involves them in their design.

DWP also sponsors “Better Government for Older People”, comprising approximately 200 voluntary elected members from older people's forums and groups across the UK, which works to reflect the views of older people in policy making.

DWP engages in a range of ongoing involvement activities with disabled people to ensure that their needs and views are reflected in both policy making and service delivery. These are outlined in our disability equality schemes published on 1 December 2006.

The Department sponsored the creation of Equality 2025, a new non-departmental public body providing a mechanism through which disabled people can have direct communication with central Government to influence, at an early stage, Government policies and service delivery that affect disabled people's lives.

We also consult with disabled people to obtain their feedback on new policy proposals or changes as part of our diversity impact assessment process. The findings from such consultation help to influence the final decision on those proposals or changes.