The McDougall Report?

Despite the reference in the BBC report, that the High Court ruling meant that Bertha McDougall was permitted to publish her report in a personal capacity, Chris Thornton in the Belfast Telegraph points out that the actual report carries the Interim Victim Commissioner title on the front page[pdf file], and Mrs Dougall signs the report as “Interim Commissioner for Victims and Survivors”. Apparently this is because “the report was printed before Lord Justice Girvan’s judgment was delivered ten days ago.” Not that any of this would be contemptuous of the High Court ruling.. at all.. ANYway.. there’s also an executive summary[pdf file] and a press release on The McDougall Report.From the summary of the report [pdf file]

My recommendations are as follows.

Services

1. All aspects of Trauma service arrangements, including both regional and local arrangements, are taken forward in conjunction with the outworking of the recommendations of the Bamford Review.

2. The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors monitors closely the impact of the implementation of Bamford on victims and survivors.

3.Issues relating to children and young people who have been impacted by the conflict are addressed by the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors in conjunction with the
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

4.All counselling services for victims and survivors are accredited to recognised standards, such as British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or
Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

5.The evaluation of the Primary Care Link Worker Service is forwarded to DHSSPS and the NI Medical and Dental Training Agency. GP training is provided to assist in the screening for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

6. Publication of information on services for victims and survivors should be co-ordinated through the office of the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, taking account of need at local and regional level.

7.All previous research through the Strategy Implementation Fund is evaluated and consideration given to how effective findings are incorporated into mainstream services with appropriate funding.

8. All Departments and Agencies in the statutory sector should review regularly their staff training and development in relation to victims’ and survivors’ issues to ensure that those working with this group are appropriately skilled.

Funding

9.A new fund for individual victims and survivors of the conflict is set up as a Company Limited by Guarantee.

10.The Memorial Fund is phased out in conjunction with the development of the new fund.

11. The new fund is established by the end of 2007 and that existing arrangements continue in the interim period.

12. A flexible funding structure is established which would be a broad-based scheme designed to have sufficient flexibility to deal with the evolving and complex needs of victims and survivors and those who care for them.

13.A task force is set up to examine ways in which the new fund can make sustainable and regular payments without impacting on the other benefits payable or be classified as taxable income.

14.The new fund makes an annual payment of £2000 to spouses bereaved prior to 1988.

15.An annual payment should also be made to help improve the quality of life for those who have been severely injured.

16. Financial profiling is applied to these annual payments.

17.The new fund is allocated £8million during the first year, in addition to set-up costs.

18. The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) meets with the Trustees of the new fund and the Comptroller and Auditor General to agree broad audit requirements in advance of the launch of this fund.

19.There is a base-line assessment undertaken at the start-up of the new fund and two years after the fund is set up an impact assessment is carried out.

20.The new fund puts performance measures in place in relation to identifying new applicants and a strategy to target those ‘hard to reach’ individuals.

21. The new fund should seek and use all opportunities to work in partnership with intermediaries such as victims’ and survivors’ support groups and Trauma Advisory Panels to provide all necessary assistance to applicants.

22.The new fund should identify ways in which to reduce the requirement on individuals to provide evidence which may be difficult emotionally or practically to access.

23.The new fund develops an enhanced IT database which facilitates analysis of data to monitor and plan for evolving needs.

24.The new fund monitors needs and the associated funding required.

25.The new fund focuses on the provision of practical help and support and does not allocate funds in support of cross-community reconciliation projects.

26.Existing arrangements for the Police Fund and Prison Service Trust should continue and they should work collaboratively to identify and minimise duplication of effort in current processes.

27.Further consideration is given to setting up a UDR Fund similar to the Northern Ireland Police Fund.

28.Funding is kept under review to take account of the ageing population of victims and survivors and the additional demands which this will bring.

29.The Intermediary Funding Body (IFB) leads a review of the Core Funding and Development Schemes with all key stakeholders to develop a new scheme.

30.The IFB enhances their monitoring processes to include more meaningful qualitative measures for groups in receipt of the revised core funding.

31. During the transition to the new scheme the £10,000 limit with the Development Grant Scheme for projects promoting joint working between groups is raised.

32. Victims and survivors are represented on the Community Planning Partnerships which will be set up within local councils under the Review of Public Administration.

The Forum

33.The forum should be an integral part of the Office of the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors (Option Three), assisted and facilitated by the Commissioner and leading to the establishment of a full round table forum (Option One).

34.The forum has a key objective of moving towards a fully independent forum consistent with the model described under Option One above.

35.The Trauma Advisory Panels continue in their present role and the important link with statutory services is maintained.

36.The role of TAP Co-ordinator should come under the auspices of the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. The new role should take account of and be consistent with the work programme of the Commissioner.

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