This is an article for South Wales Evening Post and Glamorgan Gazette
Like many other Assembly Members, MPs and Councillors across Wales, I have received a significant number of pleas for help from constituents who have faced major problems renewing their blue badges..
The current system is a complete mess and the Welsh Government is failing to sort it out.
I believe it is wrong for GPs to have effectively been taken out of the decision making process. Council staff are not medically trained, yet they are being forced to make judgements on complex medical conditions.
There is an over reliance on consultants, which adds further delays into the current process. After all, most people end up waiting twelve months for an appointment with a consultant.
Unfortunately, the outcome of this confusion is that vulnerable and elderly people are being denied assistance they desperately need.
There are also issues with the Welsh Government’s guidance, which is non-statutory. This says that a person's condition must be permanent and already present for six months if they are to receive a blue badge. Yet many conditions that would require a blue badge can be resolved within a reasonable period of time, such as needing a knee replacement. People with these conditions need help too and are not getting it.
I am also concerned that some councils do not have an appropriate appeal mechanism in place. In some cases officers who have made the decision are also assessing the appeal.
This is exacerbated by the inconsistent interpretation of guidance. In some cases it seems that reasons for refusal are based on selective reading of the rules and some correspondence I have had is contradictory.
If you need help or advice with your blue badge application then e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring me on 01792 536353