Each year, more than 850,000 blue badges are issued, at a cost of £20 each, that’s £17M. In addition, the 2.35 million badges already in circulation also have a renewal cycle – so this work is vast and ongoing. To complicate matters further, the legislation is regularly updated with the next update expected for 30 August 2019.
In order to save on costs and promote service excellence, it’s important to find a rapid and uniformed issue process. However, this is a big topic of discussion, so we joined more than 60 delegates from 35 organisations for a PSDTF workshop in Birmingham.
It was a very interactive day, with a workshop on a wide range of viewpoints. There were some excellent presentations given by various Councils, the Department of Transport (DfT) and Government Digital Services.
Many able-bodied drivers have an impatient story or two about difficulties with parking. However, finding a suitable parking space takes on a whole new perspective for those with disabilities or health conditions. For some, parking is a lifeline – not just a convenience.
One thing is abundantly clear, the matter is hugely important. Councils must assess and manage this effectively.
Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, confirmed this: “Blue badges are a lifeline for many disabled people, and it’s important to make the application process as quick and easy as possible.”
It’s not commonly known that local councils are ultimately responsible for the assessment of any resident’s Blue Badge. While the DfT set the criteria, any request, its progress monitoring or the handling of any appeal, must be managed through the council where the applicant lives.
The DfT has recently launched a step-by-step journey on-line. This useful service has made a massively positive impact and increased digital take up from 13% to 57%. It is also reducing handling time by up to 11 days – or by 40%. Unfortunately, councils that don’t have their own digital system are passed the application for processing, which they need to then manage within other manual or case systems. This has led to some councils taking it upon themselves to find a solution that can help them to connect all the dots.
Doing it for themselves
With a view to improving service and productivity, Cumbria County Council (similar to others) has chosen to develop its own integrated process. Rather than duplicating effort, Cumbria have built a Low-code solution in 12 weeks.
Delegates were able to see how Cumbria County Council have used our Low-code platform to streamline their digital application process.
The online form uses all the DfT questions, and the council is able to include specific additional questions within a single user interface. This delivers them the following benefits:
1. If a resident goes to the DfT site, their registration of the Cumbria postcode, redirects them to the Cumbria web page – which is identically styled.
2. This means the council only use one system. The Cumbria team are able to add case notes or detail as needed. There are no manual systems or paper workarounds.
3. The in-built scoring mechanism promotes fairness and controls any potential of assessor bias.
4. The Cumbria process includes options for review and appeals. The in-built appeals process aids a consistent approach.
5. Audits of fairness are easy to conduct, with information or copies of supplied documents easily to hand.
6. As legislation moves forward, such as with the August 2019 Assessing of Hidden Disabilities, their Low-code processes are quick to change internally. There is no need for vendor support or any additional costs.
7. Process bottlenecks reveal themselves in the dynamic view of the process flow. Management is able to make quick and continual improvements.
For more information on how you could jumpstart your digital transformation with a Low-code blue badge solution, book a demo.