Members agree to appoint Older People’s Champions

Members of Highland Council’s Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee – who met today – have made a commitment to undertake a pilot and appoint up to three Councillors to the role of Older People’s Champions once local elections have concluded in May 2022 and a new Council has been formed.

The decision follows a motion put forward to full Council on 10 December 2021 seeking one or more elected members to act as a link between the Council and older people in the local area.

It is also supported by a desire from Age Scotland and SOPA who similarly want to see a network of Older People’s Champions from across Scotland who will be a voice for older people at local and national level, work together on shared challenges and collectively influence for change.

The role will require the Champions to:

  • Act as role models;
  • Become advocates for the views and needs of the elderly;
  • Provide information and advice to the relatives and carers of older people;
  • Recognise and celebrate good practice;
  • Challenge poor practice or blocks in the system;
  • Show commitment in attending in–house training and educational sessions (including cascading this information to colleagues).

In addition, each Champion will be given the opportunity to identify an area of particular interest within their role – from specific matters such as the delivery of mental health services or more general issues such as housing.  It is hoped that this will help define the remit and influence that the role can have.

The pilot will run for a period of one year after appointment of the Champions and, upon conclusion, its outcomes will be reviewed and assessed.

Members of the Committee will be provided with an update in 2023, which will allow both the practicalities of the role to be examined, alongside the impact it has had.  At this time, an assessment will be made by members to consider whether the Older People’s Champion roles should be continued, in what capacity, and whether any additional resource requirements are appropriate.

Councillor Linda Munro, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, said:  “There is no doubt that the Older People’s Champion will be a role of many parts – reaching out and into all services and agencies to represent the tremendous diversity of the senior citizen community in Highland.  Thankfully, gone are the days of assuming a person’s age defines them and further assuming the only service they require are social services.”

Councillor Munro continued:  “In Highland we are delighted to be joining more than half of Scottish Local Authorities who have either appointed members to this role already or are making a commitment to pilot the scheme following the forthcoming election.”

Councillor Munro concluded by saying:  “Upon their introduction and completion of some initial training, Champions will play an important role in gathering opinions and insights from organisations, then funnelling them to the appropriate people who can act decisively and implement change.”


10 Feb 2022