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The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched an online system for Blue Badge applications in an effort to remove “unnecessary red tape”.
The DfT’s Blue Badge service is fully integrated from end to end, and automatically sends the application to the relevant local council, which ultimately makes the decision to grant or deny the application.
Previously, applying for a badge, which allows people with disabilities to park in “Blue Badge spaces, required the applicant to send off numerous supporting documents in the post, but the service now lets applicants upload documents, such as proof of identity, a photograph of themselves and proof of residency through the online platform.
The system aims to reduce the average current application time of 17 days, or 28 if a medical assessment is needed, down to 12 minutes for those who qualify for “automatic eligibility”, while no applications are expected to take longer than 30 minutes.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said that Blue Badges are “a lifeline for many disabled people” and that it’s important “to make the application process as quick and easy as possible”.
“Speeding up the process will allow people to access the tools they need to travel independently and with confidence,” he said.
Despite some local councils having trialled the use of the government’s identity assurance platform Gov.uk Verify for Blue Badges, the option to verify your identity using the platform is not available on the DfT’s Blue Badge service.
In September 2018, the DfT invested £10m into a digital planning service, due to launch this year, which allows motorists to see where and when roadworks and disruptions are taking place in real time.
The digital service, named Street Manager, will allow local councils and utility companies to share and record data on roadworks in England, meaning they can collaborate and coordinate better to reduce strain on drivers being caught up in congestion several times during a single journey.
The department has also set out an action plan to increase its spend with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to 33% by 2022, and to support small and innovative companies through grants.
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