September 2020 – Blue Badge Scheme Application Process Criticised by Ombudsman
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found numerous failings in the assessment process used by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham for its Blue Badge parking scheme.
A man who had a hearing impairment had his application for a Blue Badge rejected by the council on the grounds that he had failed to qualify automatically because he had not been awarded the required points under the personal independence allowance scheme (prior to the changes made to the eligibility criteria for people with hidden disabilities in August 2019). However, the council did not go on to carry out an assessment to determine if he was eligible on other grounds. In addition, it failed to respond to his review request.
When the Ombudsman tried to investigate the complaint, it found the council had already deleted his records, meaning it could not explain if it had gone on to assess his individual circumstances after rejecting him for not automatically qualifying. It then failed to give him a detailed explanation for why it rejected both his application and his request for a review. The council also failed to have an appeals process, which the legislation requires.
As a result of the investigation, the council agreed to comply with the Ombudsmans recommendations, including to
Reassess his eligibility for a Blue Badge
Review its procedures to make sure it is assessing applications properly
Implement an appeals procedure and
Keep its records about unsuccessful Blue Badge applications for at least a year
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