Supporting the independence of older people: are councils doing enough?
THOMAS Huw Vaughan
Wales Audit Office
This report examines how effective councils in Wales have been in providing strategic leadership on older person’s issues. It analyses the Welsh Government’s and councils’ budgets, looking at the range and availability of preventative services across Wales, focusing on four core aspects that support older people to continue to live independently: practical support services; community based facilities; advice and information services; and housing and housing based services. The report also assesses councils’ performance management arrangements for overseeing services to older people, examining the information that is used by councils to judge performance. The review argues that Councils’ strategies and leadership focus too much on delivery of social services and do not always recognise the important contribution that other services can make in supporting and sustaining the independence of older people. Despite some innovative examples of councils supporting older people, the wider preventative services that can help reduce demand for health and social services are undervalued. A lack of data is making it difficult for councils to demonstrate the impact of their services in supporting the independence of older people, and this weakens their decision making and scrutiny when setting future priorities. (Edited publisher abstract)