Blue Badge changes from the 1 April - Independent Mobility Assessments
There have been changes to the process for assessing entitlement for a Blue Badge. It will only apply to new applicants, or when a badge is due for renewal.
Changes to mobility assessments
From 1 April 2012, the way assessments are carried out will be changed. For those people who do not automatically qualify for a badge, independent mobility assessments may be required. Instead of the previous GP assessments, these will be undertaken by independent medical professionals (who are not involved in the care of the applicant) with expertise in mobility.
Who will be affected?
This change will only affect those applicants where it is unclear from the application form that they meet the criteria and further evidence is required. Under the old regulations, an applicant’s GP was asked to provide evidence. The new Government legislation now requires these applicants to be independently assessed. Local authorities may also continue to make use of factual information from the GP, or from other medical professionals, regarding an applicant’s condition(s) and treatment(s) as evidence to support the decision making process.
Independent mobility assessors
In Hampshire, we will be following Government guidelines and using professional Occupational Therapists as independent mobility assessors. Applicants will also be asked if we can look at any relevant information already held, with a view to finding evidence to speed up an application. This cross-checking can reduce the number of applicants who need to undergo an independent mobility assessment.
In order to meet our legal obligations to deliver independent mobility assessments from 1 April, the County Council will be running a pilot for three months. This will include a new Blue Badge application form, based on Department for Transport guidelines, with additional questions about a person’s ability to walk.
During the pilot, all applicants that need to attend a mobility clinic will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their experience. This feedback will help us to explore options for the long-term delivery of mobility assessments. The pilot mobility clinic locations are: Havant, Fareham, Lymington, Eastleigh, Andover, Basingstoke, Fleet, Alton. Additional mobility clinic locations will be added in the future.
It is the responsibility of Hampshire County Council to ensure that badges are only issued to residents who satisfy one or more of the eligibility criteria set out in the legislation that governs the scheme. If an applicant is refused, a detailed explanation of the grounds for refusal will be provided.
These changes are about making the Blue Badge scheme fairer and more consistent, ensuring that its benefits are protected for those people that really need them. If you are an existing Blue Badge holder, these new arrangements will only apply when your badge is renewed.
I hope this provides you with a useful summary of the changes to Independent Mobility Assessments. If you have any questions, please email Blue.Badge@hants.gov.uk, or write to
Blue Badge and Concessionary Travel
PO Box 696