MacKay Hannah

Scotland 2020: Realising the opportunities of an ageing population

Thu 3rd Oct 2013

Edinburgh, Novotel Edinburgh Centre

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

Recognising that policy discussions around demographic change and ageing populations are often, quite understandably, dominated by the impact on health and social care budgets, the aim of this inaugural Scottish Productive Ageing Summit is to encourage a shift in focus - from the challenges provided by an ageing population, to the opportunities.

It will seek to outline visions of a future (the Scotland of 2020) where our older generations are realised as net contributors and consumers in society. Participants will be encouraged to consider and debate policies and services that are likely to enable Scotland’s population to age more productively and, in particular, to explore how the resources - the skills, expertise, time and goodwill - of our older men and women can be better fostered to the benefit of businesses, families, communities and, of course, older people themselves.

Conference background

The impact of demographic change on the financing and delivery of public services is rising to the very top of the political agenda.  The topic is currently the subject of committee enquiries at both the Scottish Parliament and the House of Lords. Providers across the public sector are considering how to future-proof their services against the predicted twin pressures of stagnating (or reducing) budgets and an ageing population.

We have just embarked on a decade which will witness significant changes to public spending in Scotland, regardless of our constitutional future. Such a financial climate requires greater efficiency, innovation and selectiveness in service design and delivery - yet there is a limit to how far public bodies can bend the spend before services, and the people providing them, become stretched to breaking point. Increasingly, public bodies are attempting to place greater emphasis on preventative, rather than reactive, spending - with early actions linked to a longer-term plan focused on outputs and outcomes, rather than input thresholds and guarantees. From attempting to meet user need, to attempting to shape it.

Productive Ageing Supporters logos


Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, HM Government


Brian Sloan Chief Executive, Age Scotland

Kenneth Howse Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford

Professor David Bell Professor of Economics, University of Stirling

Professor Dawn Skelton Professor in Ageing and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Joanne Crawford Senior Scientist and Ergonomist, the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)

Professor Bryan Manning Visiting Professor in Cross-Sectorial Compunetics Research, University of Westminster

Pat Scrutton Co-ordinator, Intergenerational National Network

Amanda Britain Managing Director, Craigforth Research and Consultancy; Joint Improvement Team Associate

Tommy Whitelaw Project Officer - Dementia Carer Voices Project, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

Brenda Rankin Fundraising and Partnership Manager - Scotland, The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise

Rachael Brown Director of Business Development & Consultancy, Impact Arts

Patrick Harvie MSP Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party (subject to Parliamentary business)

Kenneth Gibson MSP Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee (subject to Parliamentary business)

Sarah Boyack MSP Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Planning, Scottish Labour Party (subject to Parliamentary business)

Gwen Harrison Community Resilience, Argyll Voluntary Action

Antonia Baird Community Resilience, Argyll Voluntary Action

Professor Richard Kerley Conference Chair: Professor of Management, Queen Margaret University; SRK Consultancy; Chair of CSPP

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We are becoming dangerously used to speaking and thinking of an ageing population as a problem, a burden on public purse and private resources alike... As things stand, more than half the over 60 population are involved in some sort of formal and structured voluntary work; over half of the population believes that this is part of what they should aspire to in later life, and a third are willing to take part in informal volunteering. These facts are of basic importance. It means, quite simply, that a majority of the older population are ready to do what they can, unpaid, to support the fabric of society; they are doing exactly what we expect responsible citizens to do.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams,
House of Lords Debate on 'The place and contribution of older people in society' (14 December 2012)

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