A text transcript of BSL video presented by Dr Terry Riley OBE - BDA Chair:
For some time BDA has been working with Capita and ATOS to improve how Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and communication can be improved, because of the commonly misunderstood and breakdowns.
So here is a short update.
Simon Hesselberg and I met Capita in last week had a very positive meeting.
1) Communication methods
Capita confirmed they are looking VRS (Video Relay Service) service for PIP call centre and have promised to keep us updated on decisions and progress - hopefully, to happen very soon.
We all agreed training was a priority. This would include:
- Deaf awareness amongst Disability Assessors and Call Centre staff.
- How to work with individuals from the deaf community, including awareness of the types of language choice available. It would be wrong to assume that BSL (British Sign Language) is the only practical communication mode for all deaf people, which is not true. For example, some use sign language, some use lip-reading or writing, some use feeling the hands when signing for ushers or deaf-blind, and many to mention.
- Training to include a deaf person to give insight into the life of the deaf individual, the culture of the deaf community, etc.
- How to work with a deaf individual when using an interpreter.
- BDA will work with Capita to review/input and give feedback.
3) Working in parallel with the deaf community, for example, the awareness about the PIP process
This could be a video on how the PIP assessment works, who does what and why. We are now looking at possible road shows with stalls at local deaf events.
We all want to reduce the numbers of last minute cancellations.
Not all deaf people use a BSL interpreter as there are other valid and essential communications & tools.
The need to work more closely with ATOS, Capita, and DWP to make sure we are all on the same page.
Lastly and most importantly that you provide Capita or BDA any issues or concerns regarding specific cases. BDA has already collected and passed on over 20 cases, and they are now investigating.
Both ATOS and Capita has asked us to reassure you, if you have a complaint or an issue, please ensure to give your appropriate personal details, names, reference, etc. It can really help them to do a proper full investigation, and to ensure any errors are rectified on the award decision.
It is important for you to be aware, that both ATOS and Capita have promised that with their investigation and revision, your complaints, comments or medical information will be strictly confidential and not shared with other government departments or parties, and it will not harm to your point score or other benefits.
Please don't hesitate to provide BDA / Capita with any issues/cases that it needs to be reviewed.