The programme for tomorrow’s Agenda for Later Life conference is looking fantastic. Both our keynote speakers, Iain Duncan Smith and Andrew Dilnot, are set to break new ground with their plenary speeches. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions will give his first major speech on ageing, in what promises to be an important statement of government policy. Meanwhile Andrew Dilnot will be making a major public intervention as Chair of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, setting out his preliminary conclusions at the commission’s half-way point (as I blogged last week)
Earlier, there’ll be a new look for the morning session, with three parallel conferences on poverty, older consumers, and the integration of health and care. I’ll be chairing the session on integration, holding court between two Jo’s of the health world – Webber, of the NHS Confederation, and Williams, of CQC. Baroness Sally Greengross and Gavin Poole of the Centre for Social Justice headline the other two sessions. Before that the conference, chaired this year by broadcaster John Stapleton, opens with a panel debate on changing attitudes to ageing, with the speakers including gay rights campaigner Ben Summerskill, who’ll draw lessons from the huge strides made in challenging homophobia over recent years.
With breakout discussion seminars sandwiched between the main sessions, this year’s Agenda for Later Life offers up an incredible depth and range of expertise. Only a conference on ageing could bring together senior speakers from such a huge and respected list of companies, public bodies and charities: Care and Repair England, the Care Quality Commission, Cisco Systems, City of London Police, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Federation of Small Business, Foundations, the International Longevity Centre UK, the Local Government Information Unit, NCVO, the NHS Confederation, the Pensions Policy Institute, Sainsbury’s, Stonewall, Which? and the Yorkshire Building Society.
We’ve been running conferences like this since 2004. Without a doubt the 2011 edition – with thanks to Sainsbury’s generous sponsorship – breaks new ground, both in the depth and breadth of our contributors, and in creating the space to think aloud for two keynote speakers who really are setting the agenda for later life.