Changes to the Blue Badge Scheme
As part of the Blue Badge Reform Programme, a new Blue Badge design is being launched from 1 January 2012 in Scotland and England and on 1 April 2012 in Wales.
The reform measures are designed to make the scheme fairer and more sustainable, to tackle fraud and misuse and to improve administration and customer service.
The new badge will make it easier to crack down on fraud which will assist severely disabled people who rely on the Blue Badge scheme to find a parking space.
There will be a new national helpline for general enquiries about Blue Badges which will signpost callers to the relevant local authority.
Applicants will be able to apply for a badge on-line via a www.bluebadgescotland.org and track the progress of their application.
Blue Badge holders will be able to report lost and stolen badges and update changes to their details on-line.
Blue Badge holders will be able to sign up for text and email reminders at renewal time.
Falkirk Council will continue to administer the Blue Badge scheme on behalf of Transport Scotland
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS)?
The English, Scottish and Welsh Governments have been working closely with local authorities and Northgate Information Solutions, in partnership with Payne Security, to develop a new system for issuing badges and delivering common services.
The Blue Badge Improvement Service will offer:
secure printing, supply and distribution of a new Blue Badge.
a common store of key information on badges and badge holders to enable verification checks to be made quickly and easily, either from a PC or via smart phones or similar technology.
a web-based management information system for local authorities.
a national on-line application form available via www.bluebadgescotland.org.
A range of ‘opt-in’ additional services, for example, sending out automatic renewal letters.
What are the advantages of the BBIS?
By establishing a common system for processing Blue Badge information and securely printing and distributing badges, we can prevent fraud and abuse.
Local authorities will have instant access to key Blue Badge details anywhere in Great Britain, not just in their local authority area.
Why is the Blue Badge being re-designed?
The current design is easily copied and forged. Many local authorities and disabled people have reported incidents involving the use of fraudulent Blue Badge copies.
The standardisation of information on the badge will help enforcement
How has the Badge been re-designed?
The badge will be harder to copy and to forge and the physical security features of the badge will be enhanced, with the use of new technologies and printing techniques.
A single supplier has been contracted to personalise, print and distribute badges to improve security in production, distribution and supply.
How will the new Blue Badge make the scheme better?
By finding a supplier to manufacture and personalise the badge on behalf of local authorities it will lead to:
Greater consistency in the appearance of the badge.
The ability to use different manufacturing and personalisation techniques offered by a single specialist supplier, increasing the options of security features for the badge.
The ability to make subtle changes to the badge quickly should the new-style badge be fraudulently reproduced.
Identifying and standardising the information on the badge will aid enforcement, especially cross boundary checks.
Enhancing the security features of the badge will help deter fraudsters and will boost the credibility of the scheme.
All Scottish applicants will receive a parking clock for use in England and Wales, saving the badge holder for having to make a prior request to their local authority for a badge.
Will the new database be safe and secure?
The system and the data store will adhere to strict HMG security standards and will only be accessible over secure Government network links.
The system will comply and be operated within the requirements laid out in the Data Protection Act.
Will the new badge be ’smart’ and include a readable chip?
The new style badge could include a chip at some point in the future (e.g. five years) if costs reduce and hand-held devices are more available.
The unique numbering system on the new badge will link in with the BBIS and will enable roadside checks to be made using SMART phones and mobile devices.
Have the rules changed on eligibility?
We have extended automatic eligibility to severely injured service personnel and war veterans in receipt of an award within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
What is changing with respect to assessments of applicants?
Some people will be referred to an independent mobility assessor when they apply for a badge. This is to ensure that those most in need receive a badge and that they are assessed by a person who is trained in assessing mobility needs.
Applicants will no longer consult their doctor about their Blue Badge application. Independent mobility assessors are being used to help avoid compromising the GP/patient relationship.
What will it mean if I apply on-line?
Applying on line through www.bluebadgescotland.org should make it easier for applicants as they will only be asked to complete those sections which are relevant to the eligibility under which they are applying.
If applicants provide a mobile phone number or email address, reminders can be sent at renewal time. Otherwise, they will be sent a letter.
Some automatic checks can be made to help speed up applications and to reduce and prevent fraud.
Applicants will be able to track the progress of their application and to pay on line should they choose to do so.
What are the environmental credentials of the badge, clock and the booklet?
The booklet is 100% recyclable.
The new parking clock is made from 50% recycled polypropylene and is 100% recyclable.
The new badge is made from a combination of PVC and PET and is 50% recyclable. It cannot be fully recycled due to the new security features and the need for the badge to withstand being placed in heat and sunlight for long periods of time.
The new badge has been tested for heat resistance. It can withstand temperatures of at least 120 degrees Celsius. The inks used are developed to be lightfast.
Why are clocks being issued in Scotland?
Clocks are automatically inserted into the Blue Badge pack to eligible applicants across Great Britain. Although not in use in Scotland, the clock will enable Scottish Badge holders to park in England under the terms of the English scheme.
The Transport Policy Directorate of Transport Scotland is responsible for the legislative framework and local authorities are responsible for administration and enforcement of the Blue Badge scheme.
The Blue Badge (Disabled Parking) Scheme is underpinned by section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 as amended.
The Blue Badge scheme has been in place since 1971 and enables disabled people to retain their independence by allowing them to park close to where they need to go.
Following a consultation exercise carried out between July and October 2010, the Scottish Government agreed in January 2011 to work in collaboration with the Department for Transport and the Welsh Government to reform the Blue Badge scheme.
The first tranche of the reforms came into effect in Scotland on 1 April 2011 under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2011 which made certain changes to the eligibility criteria.
The Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Amendment (No 2) Regulations 2011 will implement the second tranche of reforms including:
amending the design of the individual and organisational badges from 1 January 2012;
ensuring that severely disabled service personnel and veterans who receive a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking will have automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge;
amending the grounds for Local Authorities to refuse to issue and to withdraw badges; and
introducing independent mobility assessments from 1 September 2012.
People are eligible ‘without further assessment’ if they are over the age of two and:
receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMCDLA);
are registered blind;
receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement; or
receive a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
People are eligible ‘subject to further assessment’ if they:
are over the age of two and are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk because of a permanent and substantial disability;
are over the age of two and have a temporary and substantial disability that means they are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk;
regularly drive a car, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty in operating, a parking meter; or
are under the age of three and have a condition that requires that they be always accompanied by bulky medical equipment or that they be kept near a motor vehicle in case of need for emergency medical treatment.