In June 2003, Brighton & Hove became the first local authority in the country to establish a directly elected older people's council. The Older People's Council ( OPC ) is an independent body set up and supported by Brighton & Hove City Council. The OPC works in partnership with the City Council and other large statutory services ( e.g. housing, health ) making sure that older people have a say in the services and policies that affect them, and the communities in which they live.
The idea of a directly elected body came from Denmark where it is a legal requirement for every town and city to elect a Council of Seniors.
Highlights of the OPC
Brighton & Hove City Council start discussions with older people's groups and organisations to identify ways in which older people can be supported to have a greater say in the services and policies that affect them.
Brighton & Hove City Council establish a cross party Task Group of elected councillors to consider:
An open meeting is held at the Brighthelm Centre, and from this a group of older people is identified to work with the cross party Task Group.
Members of the Task Group and older people group undertake a study tour to Denmark, meeting with members of Senior Citizens Councils in Copehnagen.
Brighton & Hove City Council agree to :
A 'shadow' Older People's Council is elected. Members of the shadow council create a constitution for the OPC, draw up a code of conduct for OPC members, nd begin the work of making the older person's voice heard in the city.
Nine older people are elected in the first public election for the Older People's Council. The electorate were from the 40,000 over 60 year age group on the Brighton & Hove electoral register.
To make sure the OPC represent all parts of the city, it is divided into 9 zones made up of two or three electoral wards, and older people in each zone elect one member to the OPC.
The second OPC elections were contested in three OPC electoral regions.
Second OPC election. Only 2 of the 9 OPC electoral regions attracted more than one candidate, and so there were only two area elections this year. Jack Hazelgrove elected as Chair.
Mike Bojczuk, backed by OPC, speaks at full council to make a case for the city to apply for WHO Age Friendly City status. A resolution is passed unanimously.
WHO accept Brighton & Hove into the WHO Age Friendly City network.
Mike Bojczuk elected as Chair.
Third Public Election of the OPC.
Mike Bojczuk steps down ( personal health ) Colin Vincent elected as Chair.Details to be entered