Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services
I am today announcing that a formal public consultation on proposals for a Welsh Declaration of the Rights of Older People will begin shortly. Details will be available on the Welsh Government website.
Human rights and equality are enshrined in the Government of Wales Act 2006. They are essential if we are to achieve our ambition to build a fair and inclusive Wales, and communities in which everyone can participate. We must dispel old-fashioned stereotypes of people based on their age, and recognise and value the enormous contributions that older people make in all of our communities across Wales.
In my written statement of 11 December 2012, I informed you of my decision to ask the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales to lead an Advisory Group to consider the merits of a potential Welsh Declaration of the Rights of Older People. As you would expect, the Commissioner has involved older people from the outset in the development of the proposed Declaration, and it is founded on what they told her is important to them and uses their own words throughout.
Whilst a Welsh Declaration of the Rights of Older People would have no binding legal effect in its own right, it would clearly articulate the rights of older people in Wales as already underpinned by existing legislation. The proposed Declaration will make clear to statutory bodies and service providers who work for, or on behalf of older people, what older people’s expectations are and what their rights are when accessing services. It will also be a valuable document for older people to help them to understand what their rights are.
Wales has led the way in ageing policy by establishing the Strategy for Older People in Wales and the world’s first Older People’s Commissioner. If adopted, a Welsh Declaration of the Rights of Older People will be another first for Wales.