PAiL RESPONSE

Additional Recommendations Relating to the WHO Domain themes arising from March 6 2020 Age Friendly London feedback conference of age related organisations

This feedback conference was organized by Positive Ageing in London – London’s regional age forum and included speakers from Age UK London, University of the 3rd Age, Greater London Forum of Older people, National Pensioners Convention, trade unions retired members sections and some London borough age forums and was attended by over 70 older Londoners.   

In summary the participants in general supported the draft GLA Age Friendly London proposals and priorities that were presented at the February GLA conference, while proposing additional concerns and recommendations for inclusion by the working groups for final consideration as part of an Age Friendly London Action Plan.

This document is being sent as an additional source of ideas to be considered for inclusion by the individual domain working groups strategic and age voluntary sector leads when convening virtual meetings to progress these and the GLA / Age UK priorities into draft working documents for inclusion in the final Age Friendly London plan.


Respect and Inclusion, and Community Involvement domains

  • There should be regular opportunities for older people to engage with the relevant politicians and officers to ensure that all strategies and action plans include an awareness of the needs of older Londoners and the benefits they bring and for there to be accountability throughout the process. GLA should assess the age-impact of its policies, strategies and actions and report back to the above bodies.
  • An implementation body should be drawn from the GLA and representatives of older Londoners, plus other key partners as appropriate to agree and oversee the implementation of the Age Friendly London plan, tasked with ensuring these plans are in place before February 2021
  • The mayor to commit to appointing a Deputy mayor for Older Londoners, within the context of the overall Equality , Diversity and Integration strategy
  • 8 WHO Domain theme working groups to be continued and extended to develop, and oversee the delivery of all 8 age friendly domains. These should be drawn from the existing structures and formalized as inclusive partnerships with representation from relevant GLA strategy groups, the EDI, older people’s representatives with expert and ‘lived experience’  knowledge plus other organisations with expertise relevant to each domain group
  • The Mayor and Deputy Mayor for EDI to appoint a senior official to be Head of an Age Friendly task force with powers, resources and structures to ensure that all key strategies include relevant age friendly policies and practice and to oversee the implementation of the Age Friendly London plan. This can draw upon examples of Age Friendly city best partnership practice in other age friendly UK cities
  • As one of the world’s most diverse cities the process of making London age friendly needs to ensure that all are included and involved in the process, involving groups of older people from different geographic areas, levels of wealth and income, from different ethnic groups, inclusive of different beliefs and sexualities, different abilities/ disabilities which requires active targeted support for those facing exclusion and discrimination, as an ongoing part of an age diverse, inclusive and accessible London and relate to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme and assembly
  • London older people’s ‘Assembly ’meetings could be set up with the purpose of obtaining feedback from elected officials and officers about Age Friendly progress and future planned activities and for elected and appointed  members to be able to make informed recommendations so that the process to would be seen as open and responsive to the wider communities of older Londoners

Transport 

  • The GLA, TfL and London councils to work together and negotiate with the government to make sure that the Freedom Pass or Over 60+ pass is protected and available for use at all times
  • Continue to offer the 60+ London Oyster photo card at all times of travel so that transport in London is affordable for older Londoners
  • Work with Transport for London to ensure the concerns and experiences of older passengers are included in training for all operatives, buses, trains and tubes.
  • Transport for London should ensure that their inclusivity and accessible policies should actively engage with older people who should be involved in training and future transport developments
  • Allowing older Londoners to meet with transport providers and teams of bus drivers in bus garages to explain their needs in person – eg regular forum discussions. This could include regular meetings, training sessions for relevant staff and management of all types of transport in London for older users and those facing particular needs or with specific health conditions and / or disabilities
  • Ensure all older Londoners can use the city’s streets and pavements by supporting action against businesses that cause obstructions on pavements and / or do not repair roads quickly and effectively from the damage their work has entailed.
  • Trains– The Mayor to request the government to allow it to take over National Rail services in the all the Zones and where this is not possible to set the fare and service level. So that the fares in the zones are the same on National Rail as they are on TfL services.
  • Adequate, accessible and regularly maintained toilets must be either installed on the trains and or on the stations and be kept open and Covid safe.
  • Stations -Adequate seating before and after the ticket barrier at stations.
  • A safe place with seating where older and people with disabilities can go at times of disruption.
  • Improve the rate of step free access to all TFL                                                     
  • Tickets -Additional special offers with train tickets should available with TfL tickets.
  • Better promotion of 1 Day Bus and Tram Pass and wider publicity of the places and times when travel is free to the over 60s.
  • English National Bus Pass to be valid on London trams.                                                           
  • Bus and Bus stops -Value the importance of same and adjacent stop interchanges.
  • Improve public transport access to hospitals in partnership with the relevant NHS services.
  • More countdown signs and better and more widespread seating.
  • As well as raising kerbs at Bus stops, surrounding pavements need to also be accessible.
  • Cycling -Reduce the number of shared cycle and pedestrian spaces, where there are shared spaces to clearly mark the pedestrian and cycle areas to both encourage cycling while protecting pedestrians with safe pedestrian crossing points on cycle ways with give way signs for cyclists to give priority to pedestrians.
  • Streets – Clear indications where pedestrian only spaces start and end especially for people with impaired vision.
  • More seating and rest points.
  • Streets to properly maintained and utilities forced to repair street after street works.
  • Adequate inspection of street furniture and trees to ensure they are not blocking pavements and proper enforcement when they are.

Employment, Skills and Learning

  • Lead an education campaign targeted at employers and the recruitment industry to promote the economic and social benefits of having an age diverse workforce and employing older workers as well as in the future supporting the growing silver economy. This is now particularly important in the face of widespread redundancies and unemployment levels which affects the youngest and oldest members of London’s workforce
  • Champion the contribution of older Londoners to the capital’s workforce as well as enhancing their own wellbeing.
  • Work with training providers and businesses to ensure that the needs of older Londoners are included in the planning of new digital skills training for people with limited or no digital experience.
  • There should be more training made available for older people both in work and looking for work to overcome the current bias against older people having the same access to training.
  • Celebrate age friendly employers and publicly challenge blatant ageism in work.
  • Promote more training to be made available for older people looking for work and also those not receiving training already in employment
  • Provide digital training for those with limited or no digital experience.
  • Provide training for the growing number of older people who volunteer.
  • Provide apprenticeships and support for those over 50s who are unemployed or in danger of becoming so.
  • Support older people who are currently shielded to ensure that they are not forced back into work in conditions they deem unsafe and to actively work with all employers to ensure they provide Covid 19 safe working environments

Communication and Digitalisation

  • We welcome and understand the need for London and the GLA to utilise digital and technological innovation to help Londoners of all ages be better informed and able to interact and  access support available in all spheres. However the Mayor also needs to ensure that information provided by the GLA is accessible to all including Londoners that are not online. because seniors will become even more isolated if they cannot access basic information for everyday living. When seniors become isolated there is a danger that their health and well being breaks down with consequences for the Care Service and NHS. Plus the fact that seniors are missing out financially when arrangements are made as online transactions. 
  • There should be more appropriate attention paid to older people who have not had the opportunity to learn.
  • More attention and research should be paid to understanding older peoples approach to equipment and appropriate tuition given. 
  • Initially there is a need for one to one tuition for seniors, after which online tuition may be appropriate. Staff should be trained and paid to understand the difficulties. Tuition should not be left to unqualified overworked librarians, care staff or community volunteers.
  • Seniors should be portrayed frequently in the media as productive citizens included in everyday events and tasks. 
  • it is the duty of the government and local councils to make sure the citizens of the UK receive essential information in ways that are accessible to all, including the digitally excluded.
  • Official websites should be easily navigable, with large type and contain appropriate telephone numbers and addresses. Content should be appropriate, accurate and cater for the local community.
  • There should also be consideration of reintroducing Silver Surfers training programme for older Londoners with problems using ITC and training those that help them, such as workers in care homes, housing associations and community centres.
  • All GLA and TFL information should be made easily available in written format and through telephone support as well as digitally.
  • Currently the GLA should prioritise the production and distribution in written form of relevant advice and guidance for older people in the face of the coronavirus.
  • That telephone advice and support is provided to everyone but older people particularly in relation to the coronavirus and other related wellbeing matters.
  • That the Mayor and GLA should actively request super markets allow for telephone orders for deliveries to be made by those over 65 and that vulnerable older people with limited financial support be provided with basic minimum requirements such as toilet rolls, sanitisers, other protective aids and basic foodstuffs

Health and Wellbeing

  • Work with older Londoners organisations, PHE and relevant bodies to produce and distribute written information about what older people need to do, especially those in self isolation,  what help there is available and how to access it , including phone lines.
  • Encourage Health and planning bodies to listen to and involve older people at all stages of service planning, design, delivery and review of Health Services.
  • Work with partners to ensure older Londoners are meaningfully included in projects to improve mental wellbeing.
  • Work with partners to increase access to social prescribing (referral for support within the community) for the most isolated older Londoners. Ensuring that there is an access to health in the first place – i.e. transport to hospital
  • Encourage and promote importance of ensuring older people and their carers are fully involved throughout the provision of health and care, especially in the community, with particular reference to combatting over prescribing and the consequent number  of falls.
  • Support the growth of a wide range of types of ownership of affordable social care facilities and homes, including more council and social housing
  • Reduce Air Pollution and Increase Accessible Public Spaces-the GLA and local boroughs encouraged to work with older people and organisations to carry out more air pollution monitoring, safe and healthy street audits ,to ensure that there are adequate toilet and other facilities to allow for older residents to easily and safely access their local communities, reducing their social isolation and / or loneliness

The Built Environment and Open Spaces ( Age Friendly Street audits)

  • The Mayor should commit to encourage and support the training and setting up of local older people led age friendly street audit teams to submit reports for action to the GLA and Local broughs for implementation, These audits encourage active involvement by older people and help decision makers understand the particular needs of older people and those with disabilities in using and enjoying their local communities. This can be carried out in association with PAIL’s ongoing training, motivation and recruitment programme to facilitate local borough age friendly street and environment audits led by local age friendly street champions and audit groups  and integrated into other research around healthy living streets and pollution, accessible toilet audits and offer a  wider consideration of the number and quality of accessible facilities in the surrounding built environment and open spaces, including the adequate provision of accessible toilets in the public and private domains
  • Pedestrian Crossings –Bleep signal – More pedestrian crossings must have the bleep signal so that blind people know when they can cross.
  • Timers – There needs to be more time allowed for people to be able to cross the street on pedestrian crossings and there needs to be longer times for busy wide roads as well as there need to be more such crossings.
  • Location – pedestrian crossing are often just round a blind corner. Safety standards need to be applied more sensibly.
  • Traffic light timings – there needs to be longer time allowed for pedestrians to cross safely
  • Obstructed ,damaged and Broken paving/curbs and roads –.The mayor should lead by example of main roads under Tfl control and support boroughs to carry out urgently needed repairs and maintenance. This includes repairing uneven and/or broken pavements, utility covers (Gas, Water, Manholes) that are not in place or missing. The GLA and TfL  should  demand and use greater powers to ensure that companies responsible for building, utility, broadband and other work repair and replace any damage they are responsible for in an effective and fast manner and support local boroughs also to encourage these companies to co-ordinate their work and guarantee fast and effective repairs and replacement. If Bus stops are close to where the work is carried out, and are shut down, temporary bus stop should be put in place.
  • Hire bicycles /electric scooters etc – there needs to be regulation and enforcement to ensure such obstacles are removed and parked properly at the cost to offenders or company owners.
  • Street furniture – there needs to be examination and action taken to remove or move any pieces of street furniture that  are placed too far in on the pavement to allow free access and moved away from close proximity to bus stops and enforcement of laws against cars and delivery vans parking at bus stops so the bus can’t stop there.
  • Street lighting – needs to be adequate and maintained so that it is adequate and safe for people with weaker eyesight.
  • Policing –There needs to be consideration of how to increase the number of police officers, especially Community Police officers and on the streets, and how to return a number of local Police stations to be re-opened. 
  • The greening of our streets and travel routes and the minimization of pollution with its attendant health risks must be a priority for Londoners of all ages

Housing

  • Support and promote access to aids and adaptations so that older Londoners can live well and safely in their own homes, regardless of the nature of their tenure.
  •  Publish clear annual data showing the proportion of newly built homes that meet basic accessibility criteria.
  • Require a suitably high proportion of new housing builds and developments to be affordable for all and accessible for all ages and incomes. Encourage and support innovative, adaptable, inclusive designs, which are environmentally friendly, energy efficient and offer a variety of tenancies including support for co-operatives and partnerships
  • Support Local Authorities to make effective use of available regulatory tools to protect older private renters including Selective Property License Schemes. Providing support to private renter on housing associations in terms of advice and advocacy as well as for repairs etc
  • Lead by example in providing funding, support and information to help older Londoners understand and apply for grants, high quality professional installations and advice to ensure their homes are safe, healthy and suitably adapted
  • Call on the government to devolve powers over the private rented sector to London.
  • Ensuring adequate standards and adaptations as required by older residents of all types of housing, including public and social tenancies, leaseholders, private rented, owner occupiers, co-operatives and residents of sheltered housing and care homes
  • Ensure that older people along all Londoners are invited and supported in being part of the decision making and planning process across London
  • Provide and encourage impartial, independent advice in formats accessible to all ages, including written and telephone advice
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