Doncaster Council rapped for refusing disabled woman a blue badge
Doncaster Council has been rapped by a complaints regulator for initially refusing a blue badge to a disabled woman.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said council officers failed to properly consider ‘Mrs X’s’ medical conditions when assessing her blue badge application and that they also failed to undertake a mobility assessment.
The body said the council were at fault and officers have since issued a temporary badge for 12-months and an apology.
An LGO investigator said the complainant has Fibromyalgia, fatigue and breathlessness and has received Disability Living Allowance since 2002 entitling her to a blue parking badge. This ended when she was refused for the new Personal Independence Payment.
It undertook a desk-based assessment based on the information in the application form. It concluded Mrs X ‘did not meet the eligibility criteria’ and wrote to her in October 2020 to inform her of its decision.
Mrs X submitted an appeal and provided additional evidence, including information from her GP.
The council’s appeal panel reconsidered the desk based assessment and upheld the original decision to refuse a blue badge. It said the ‘supporting evidence provided was not sufficient’ to indicate that the applicant meets the criteria in which she has applied under.
The council wrote to Mrs X in January 2020 and to say her appeal had been refused.
Following further investigation from the ombudsman, they found ‘no evidence the council properly considered Mrs X’s long standing complex medical issues’ and it should have sought the view of an ‘expert assessor’.
The LGO found it should have also arranged an assessment, which the council did not.
Debbie Hogg, director of corporate resources at Doncaster Council, said: “This was not a straight forward mobility case and some of the eligibility had changed but the council has apologised for not undertaking an appointment with a mobility assessment and sought to rectify with an appointment.
“However, we have since provided a temporary badge for a year because we did not feel it was safe for the appointment to go ahead in the current Covid-19 lockdown environment.”
“Meanwhile, we will seek to collect further information for the next assessment when an appointment can go ahead.”
She added the review provided important lessons regarding less common conditions which will help improve working practices.