Improving access to culturally-appropriate services and enhancing responses to the needs of older people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds were among the aims of the National Service Framework for Older People (NSFOP) that was introduced in England in 2001. Progress in meeting the aims of the NSFOP was evaluated by a mid-term independent review led by the Healthcare Commission, the body responsible for regulating health-care services in England. This paper reports the consultation with older people that underpinned the evaluation. It focuses on the views and experiences of older people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups and of the staff that work in BME voluntary organisations. A rapid appraisal approach was used in 10 purposively selected local councils, and plural methods were used, including public listening events, nominal groups and individual interviews. In total 1,839 older people participated in the consultations and 1,280 (70%) completed a monitoring form. Some 30 per cent defined themselves as of a minority ethnic background. The concerns were more about the low recognition of culturally-specific and language needs than for the development of services exclusively for BME older people.