Sheffield Council tackling Blue Badge “considerable backlog”

Extra staff are being put in place by Sheffield City Council to deal with a “considerable backlog” of Blue Badge applications for car users with disabilities.
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Coun Sioned-Mair Richards asked for an update on the Blue Badge system at a recent meeting of the council audit and standards committee. She said there is quite a long backlog of applications for the parking badges.

Paul Taylor, head of customer services, said there is a 28-day turnaround in processing applications for people who are on benefits that automatically qualify them for a badge.

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He said that applications by people who do not fall into that category may be refused and most opt to go through an appeals process. The situation has become more complicated since people with ‘hidden’ disabilities – conditions not immediately apparent to others – have been added to the list of those who can apply, he said.

Sheffield City Council is tackling a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRSSheffield City Council is tackling a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS
Sheffield City Council is tackling a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS

Health issues and bereavements have hit the council team who process applications and led to a “considerable backlog”, said Mr Taylor.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate that,” he said. “We have brought in a grace period because 24-25 per cent of applications are re-applications.”

The grace period means people with recently expired Blue Badges can still use them to park, he said.

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Sheffield City Council says it is bringing in staff to help tackle a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRSSheffield City Council says it is bringing in staff to help tackle a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS
Sheffield City Council says it is bringing in staff to help tackle a long backlog in applications for Blue Badges for car users with disabilities. Picture: Julia Armstrong, LDRS

Staff from other services are helping to process applications and more junior staff in the department who already understand the Blue Badge system are being interviewed to fill more senior gaps in the team.

Mr Taylor said that the council has also taken advice from Rotherham Council about the action it took to get its backlog down.

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He added: “Hopefully we can bring the backlog back to what it should be, ie 28 days. We should be back to that in eight weeks.

“It’s a horrible situation and we’re doing all we can to change that.”

Coun Joe Otten, chair of the waste and street scene policy committee, said in July: “The council is aware of issues with blue badge applications for some customers and would like to apologise for these delays.

"A 12-week grace period is in place to ensure customers can continue to use their blue badge whilst they wait for a new one.

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“The issue is affecting blue badge applications that require a senior review, these are for more complex cases and appeals. The council is taking action to address the staffing issues which are causing these delays and expects the team that deals with blue badge renewals to be running at full capacity by the end of the year.”