Age Friendly County Structure
The Age Friendly Counties Programme is primarily focussed on delivering real change initiatives on the ground in participating counties. The Programme has a common infrastructure across all our Partner Age Friendly Counties, with the County Manager leading out on the initiative in its first year. We work intensively with our Partner AFC counties to ensure that they have the required support and mentoring to roll out the programme following our Ten Step Approach.
At County level the AFC Programme comprises a number of key elements:
Each county’s programme is led by an Alliance, chaired by the County Manager, comprising the most senior decision makers from the key public, private and not-for-profit agencies involved in providing supports and services to older people eg Local Authority, HSE, Gardai, VEC/University, Leader, Carers groups, Community and Voluntary Pillar, Chambers, CEB. They often include individual leaders and influencers in the community, with respected track records for achieving important societal gains. Lastly, representatives from the three forums described below sit on the Alliance – Older People, Business, Service Providers. Each Alliance usually establishes a smaller Executive Group, which meets more frequently and has responsibility for managing the implementation of the Strategy, especially those projects involving a collaboration of agencies. The Alliance is normally embedded into the local infrastructure through the CDB.
Older People’s Forums:
Each Age-friendly County initiative establishes a local Older People’s Forum, as an early first step. The forum is open to all older people and their organisations to join. It is developed through a series of public consultations with older people at town and village level. The findings from these consultations inform the priorities of the Age-friendly Strategy – which is adopted by the Alliance.
The forum exists to represent the views of older people within the Alliance. It also takes responsibility for implementing many of the changes identified through the consultation process.
Service Providers Forums
These forums bring together all those organisations providing services to older people in the county – across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors with a view to exploring how to improve the range and quality of those services and make them more responsive to the expressed needs of older people. The intention is to:
- map those services, identifying who provides what services, where and to which groups of older people and
- review those services against the known needs of older people, as will be evidenced from a major county wide survey as well as other sources of information on needs and priorities
- identify ways in which services might be provided in a more cost effective way, removing any areas of duplication and prioritising areas of greatest needs.
These forums are designed to stimulate awareness among the business community about how best to grow their customer base, by deepening their understanding of older people’s needs, preferences, behaviours and attitudes. They comprise business leaders from the area who have an interest in responding to those needs and see the opportunities for businesses to benefit from the ‘age friendly county initiative’. They explore opportunities across a range of sectors, including leisure, retailing, financial services, transport, health, communications and volunteering.
The Alliances, following extensive consultation with older people, service providers and others, develop an Age Friendly County Strategy. These contain specific commitments by agencies, service providers and older people’s organisations, often in collaboration, to implement agreed changes – often reflecting the priorities expressed by older people in the consultation process.