National database set up for all Blue Badge holders
5 February 2015
The records of every Blue Badge issued in England and Scotland can now be accessed through the national database, enabling automated sharing of all information across local authorities and helping to cut down fraud. Information for all badges in Wales will also be complete on the database from April 2015.
The database has been set up by Northgate Public Services (NPS), which has been delivering the national Blue Badge Improvement Service on behalf of the Department for Transport, the Welsh and Scottish Governments and local authorities since January 2012 in England and Scotland and since April 2012 in Wales. Since its inception, over 3 million Blue Badges have been issued and the information is now stored electronically.
The new database ensures more effective monitoring of cancelled, lost or stolen badges and helps to tackle badge fraud and misuse. Currently, badge fraud is estimated to cost the public sector £46 million a year.
The Blue Badge Improvement Service aims to improve mobility for disabled people by providing them with a badge which gives better access to facilities through the provision of more accessible parking.
It is free to make an application for a Blue Badge. The only payment required is for the charge for the badge, which can vary between councils from no charge to up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland. There is no charge for badges in Wales.
The best way to apply is via the person’s local council, which determines each applicant’s eligibility before a Blue Badge is issued. Applications can be made on-line through the official Blue Badge website (www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge).
Northgate Public Services’ Executive Director, Joe Bradley, said: “We are delighted to have made this service nationally available through this database. It means improved customer service for people with disabilities. Local Authorities can make more consistent assessment of applications, as well as efficiency savings and cutting down on fraud. It also helps to make the scheme fairer and more sustainable in the long-term for those disabled people who most rely on it. We are very pleased to be running such a successful scheme, which is helping disabled people to park more conveniently and thus making their lives easier.”