The regional Forums each convene meetings of and engage with anyone with an interest in the later life issues: individual older people themselves (‘the experts by experience’), representatives of organisations of and for older people, statutory and third sector provider organisations, and others, all of whom are encouraged to contribute their ideas, thoughts, suggestions and concerns.
The Forums feed into and receive feedback from debates and consultations locally, regionally, and nationally. This ongoing dialogue ensures that the views, experiences, needs and aspirations of older people in each region are effectively heard and as effectively responded to.
At a regional level, the Forums work with the representatives of councils, health trusts, other public bodies, charities and voluntary sector organisations – helping them to develop a better understanding of ‘what older people want and what works for them’.
Nationally each of the nine English Forums is represented at the quarterly meetings of the ‘UK Advisory Forum on Ageing’ [UKAFA], which is regularly joined by two Ministers of State – (usually, but not exclusively, from the Departments of Work and Pensions, and of Health).
At a more practical operational level, regular meetings of the Chairs of the English Forums also act as a reference group for the now well established ‘Age Action Alliance’ and its 'Working Groups'. Attendance at and participation in the Alliance meetings and in the Working Groups ensures that the voices of older people from the West Midlands are also directly involved in the development of services intended to meet their needs and aspirations.