When the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TPDPS) was launched, Capita worked in partnership with the Department of Justice and the Victims’ Payments Board to develop an assessment process to assess the impact of a Troubles Related Injury while putting the victim at the heart of the process.

The signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a seminal moment in the history of Northern Ireland. It laid the groundwork that would eventfully lead to a devolved government being established.

This may well have signalled a new era for Northern Ireland, but the legacy of the Troubles was acknowledged as a deep-rooted issue and one that would require careful consideration and thought if the issues of the past were to be sensitively and appropriately overcome, and to the satisfaction of those impacted the most.

The impact the Troubles had on Northern Ireland was felt far and wide. Most, if not every citizen was affected throughout the 30 years of conflict. It’s believed that more than 3,500 people were killed, with an estimated 40,000 injured between 1968 and 1998. Many were injured, suffering physical and psychological trauma, and families lost loved ones.

Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme

In August 2021 the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TPDPS) was launched. This is a hugely important scheme for communities right across Northern Ireland and further afield.

The development of the TPDPS was the outworking of years of campaigning by victims’ groups and political negotiations. Its purpose is to acknowledge the harm suffered by those injured in the conflict in Northern Ireland and to promote reconciliation between people in connection with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Partnering with devolved government

Capita’s health and welfare team in Northern Ireland, working in partnership with the Department of Justice and the Victims’ Payments Board (VPB), designed and developed an assessment process that would allow the impact of a Troubles-related injury to be assessed while putting the victim at the heart of the process.

Designing a victim-centric assessment process

After a comprehensive international review had been concluded, it was clear that there was no model or blueprint to follow and, given the scale and unique nature of the clinical challenge and socio-political context presented, it demanded a tailored solution that would sensitively and fairly deliver the necessary outcomes – and crucially, endeavour not to re-traumatise individuals going through the application process to the TPDPS.

Working alongside the Victims’ Payments Board, we were clear that this had to be a wholly victim-centric approach. A collaboration with leading trauma and Troubles experts from Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and Harvard University enabled the research and design of the process.

We also worked closely with specialist stakeholder groups, such as the WAVE Trauma Centre, which delivers specialist trauma training for our TPDPS clinical assessors. External specialists in disability assessment medicine were also engaged to bring their expertise to the process.

This input has been invaluable and acted upon by the Capita team, which is led by caring and compassionate healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, and occupational and physiotherapists, all of whom have experience in mental health.

For instance, anybody applying to the TPDPS and requiring an assessment of their permanent disablement will be assigned to one clinical assessor for the entire assessment journey. This avoids the need to potentially recall and repeat distressing information to multiple assessors.

It’s in the Capita team’s DNA to want to make a positive difference. The team is determined to facilitate victims in their application to the Scheme and is committed to doing so in a way that promotes empathy and compassion by putting the victims at the heart of the assessment process.

To date, the Victims’ Payments Board has received applications to the scheme from individuals living in Northern Ireland and from Great Britain, Europe, North America, Africa and Australasia.

To find out more about the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme, or if you wish to apply, please visit www.victimspaymentsboard.org.uk

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