The Blue Badge Parking Scheme Frequently Asked Questions
Q - Why is the Blue Badge design being changed?
A - The current design is easily copied and forged. Many disabled people and local authorities have reported incidents involving the use of fraudulent Blue Badges.
It is time consuming to produce the badge. Local authorities currently have to personalise the badge by handwriting the details, cutting and gluing the holder’s signature and photograph onto the badge. This leads to inconsistencies and details can easily be changed. The ink can also fade over the three year lifetime of the badge.
There are potential security issues with the storage and distribution of badges, with some local authorities reporting missing badges. Central production and distribution removes the need for local authorities to order and store blank badges.
Standardising the information on the badge will help enforcement.
Q - How has the Badge changed?
A - The badge will be harder to copy and forge. The physical security features of the badge have been enhanced using new technologies and printing techniques.
A single supplier has been contracted to:
- personalise, print and distribute badges
- improve security in production, distribution and supply
- reduce production costs
- simplify the process and help local authorities reduce costs
Q - How will the new Blue Badge make the scheme better?
A - Having one supplier manufacture and personalise the badge will lead to:
- greater consistency in the appearance of the badge
- the ability to use different manufacturing and personalisation techniques, 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
- Local authorities no longer needing to order and securely store the blank badges, freeing up space and time and removing the threat of theft
- Local authorities no longer having to personalise each badge they issue, saving time
- helping enforcement, especially cross boundary checks, by identifying and standardising the information on the badge
- helping deter fraudsters by enhancing the security features of the badge and boosting the credibility of the scheme
- all Scottish applicants receiving a parking clock for use in England and Wales. Saving the badge holder from having to make a prior request to their local authority for a badge
Q - Will the new badge be 'smart' and include a readable chip?
A - Not at this time. Badges need to be displayed in the windscreen of a car. Enforcement will still depend on an officer walking past a vehicle with a hand held device capable of reading the chip through a windscreen.
But the new style badge could include a chip at some point in the future if costs reduce and hand held devices are more available.
The unique numbering system on the new badge will link in with the Blue Badge Improvement Service and will allow roadside checks to be made using SMART phones and mobile devices.
Q - Have the rules changed on eligibility?
A - Automatic eligibility has been extended to include 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 who have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability causing inability to walk or great difficulty in walking.
Independent mobility assessments, from 1 September 2012, may mean some people will not get a badge at renewal because of the more robust and objective assessment.
Q - What is changing with respect to assessments of applicants?
A - From 1 September 2012, some people will be referred to an independent mobility assessor when they apply for a badge. This is to make sure those most in need get a badge and that they are assessed by a person who is trained in assessing mobility needs.
This will only apply to people applying under the unable to walk or virtually unable to walk assessment criteria. If they are seen at the time of their first application, the assessor may decide that they will not need to be assessed again at renewal time.
Independent mobility assessors are being used to help avoid compromising the GP / patient relationship.
Q - What will it mean if I apply on-line?
A - Applying on-line through the Blue Badge Scotland website should make it easier for you. You will only be asked to complete those sections which are relevant to the eligibility under which you are applying.
If you give a mobile phone number or email address, reminders can be sent at renewal time.
Some automatic checks can be made to help speed up applications and to reduce and prevent fraud.
You will also be able to track the progress of your application and pay on line.
Q - What are the environmental credentials of the badge, clock and the booklet?
A - 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.
Q - Why are clocks being issued in Scotland?
A - Clocks are automatically inserted into the Blue Badge pack to eligible applicants across Great Britain. Although not in use in Scotland, the clock will allow Scottish badge holders to park in England under the terms of the English scheme.
Q - What is the Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS)?
A - The English, Scottish and Welsh Governments have been working with local authorities and Northgate Information Solutions, in partnership with Payne Security, to develop a new system for issuing blue badges and delivering common services. Known as the Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS).
The BBIS will offer:
- secure printing, supply and distribution of a new Blue Badge
- a common store of key information on badges and badge holders to allow verification checks to be made quickly and easily, from a PC, smart phones or similar technology
- a web based management information system for local authorities
- a national on-line application form available via the Blue Badge Scotland website
Q - What are the advantages of the Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS)?
A - By establishing a common system for processing Blue Badge information and securely printing and distributing badges, fraud and abuse can be prevented.
Local authorities will have instant access to key Blue Badge details anywhere in Great Britain, not just in their local authority area.
Q - Will the new database be safe and secure?
A - The system complies with the Data Protection Act.
The system and the data store adhere to Her Majesty’s Government security standards and are only accessible over secure Government network links.
Local authority administrators have been appointed to control access to the service.
Only authorised local authority staff have access to the system, which is controlled by unique log-on IDs and passwords.