Find out how we have helped improve blue badge assessments using your feedback
For someone who is very sick or disabled, a blue badge can provide vital assistance in their day to day living. Enabling them to be able to access services by parking close to their destination. Individuals have to be assessed to determine their eligibility for these badges. Eligibility for Blue Badges in Devon are determined by an assessment by the Local Authority (Devon County Council) and these must abide by the criteria set by the Department for Transport.
During 2016, it became apparent that some individuals were experiencing problems with the assessment process. Healthwatch Devon believes that people have the right to a safe, dignified and quality service. So we wanted to hear about people’s experiences of the assessment process.
What we did
Working with our Champions in Citizens Advice Centres across the County, we set out to collate the experiences of those who had concerns about their Blue Badge assessments. Whilst we were collecting these experiences we also wrote to Devon County Council to request information about the assessment process and the feedback they had received on their service.
13 people shared their recent experience of blue badge assessments with us. We found that the main issues to be:
- Quality. There was inconsistency in the quality of blue badge assessments carried out.
- Assessment Criteria. We had concerns about how the assessment criteria is applied and its consistency with the national guidelines.
- Dignity. We heard about a lack of privacy during the assessment, resulting in the process being uncomfortable and intimidating.
- Staff Attitudes. Staff showed a lack of respect to the applicant. Individuals did not feel that their voice had been heard or their needs fully considered.
- Well being. The negative impact that being refused a Blue Badge can have on an individual’s health and wellbeing.
We have made a number of recommendations to Devon County Council. And the report has been well received.
Read our Blue Badge Report
We are encouraged to see that Devon County Council have already acted upon the concerns we have raised. Their responses are included at the end of the report.