Category Archives: Consumers

Encouraging user involvement

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In the Age UK Information Resources team we make sure that we involve our users when writing and updating information guides and factsheets.

User feedback allows us to hear from the people the resource is intended to help. It enables us to make sure our materials are relevant, accessible, logical and useful. User involvement is also a requirement of the NHS England Information Standard which we were proud to achieve in 2015. This is a quality mark which testifies to the accuracy and reliability of our information.

We have invested a lot of time and energy into developing our methods of gathering user feedback in recent years, and we currently have three main approaches that we use – focus groups, questionnaires, and our readers’ panel. Continue reading

Staying warm and well in winter

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With temperatures starting to drop, frostier mornings and even the possibility of snow in the air, winter is finally upon us. We all cope with the cold weather differently – some people even enjoy it – but for many older people, it can be life-threatening.

It may come as a shock to find out that nearly 41,000 older people died because of the cold weather in 2014-15. These were all excess winter deaths which could have been prevented. Continue reading

Complaining to energy suppliers

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We’ve all heard people complaining about poor service from their energy companies. We’ve all read newspaper articles about inaccurate bills and unanswered queries. We’ve all seen the hefty fines handed to companies for failing customers.   In truth, the energy sector has not covered itself in glory handling consumer complaints.

But householders do not need to grin and bear it. Legal and other changes to consumer protection offer increased support to aggrieved customers. All the major energy companies are now answerable to an Ombudsman. But to take action, the Ombudsman needs to be satisfied that the consumer has followed due process. Continue reading

A great place to grow older?

Today, we launched our Agenda for Later Life 2015 report, Age UK’s annual assessment of how public policy is meeting the needs of older people. Here, Jane Vass, Head of Public Policy, discuss the findings of the report in light of the upcoming Spending Review. 

In the run up to what is likely to be one of the most challenging Spending Reviews of recent times, Agenda for Later Life, Age UK’s annual audit of how public policy is meeting the needs of our ageing population, highlights that older people are increasingly being thrown back on their own resources, as the public services on which they rely are being scaled back or withdrawn.

Each year, we track a number of key indicators, and this year shows progress in many areas but also the scale of the challenge facing us. Continue reading