Blue Badge Application Service

West Sussex’s County Council’s blue badge scheme gives people with severe mobility problems the ability to park closer to where they need to go, without traffic regulation penalties.

This essential service attracts the seventh highest number of contacts that West Sussex County Council receive, resulting in 14,652 blue badge applications (of which 9963 are renewal applications) coming through the system each year.

In previous years, the Blue Badge application and renewal process at West Sussex County Council was quite lengthy and complex, mainly caused by external factors such as abuse of the Blue Badge system as well as the need to carry out face-to-face assessment by Independent Mobility Assessors (IMA’s). It also created a significant administrative process for the council as 95% of Blue Badge applications were received in hard copy format and taking on average 10 weeks to process per application.  

Improving the customer journey 

Capita local public services were commissioned to review the delivery of administration and office services for blue badges for West Sussex County Council. 

To help deliver a ‘new’ and more ‘efficient’ service and create a customer channel shift, Capita have put together a two phase service improvement plan.

Phase 1

  • Migrating the council to the GOV.UK Blue Badge online application process and promoting this to customers. This gives customers the ability to upload documents and make payments online, saving time and money for both the Council and the customer.
  • Benchmark comparison to other authorities. As West Sussex County Council rightly takes a risk averse approach to try to minimise abuse of the system, benchmarking helps to show the Council the increasing benefits of completing the Channel Shift.
  • Creating reader friendly Blue Badge specific website content to encourage customers to engage more online.
  • Changing processes such as posting blue badges to customers, rather than asking them to travel to their local library, thereby providing a more efficient service.

Since launching phase 1, West Sussex County Council has seen

  • Online applications rising from 5% to around 20%. This percentage is rising consistently every month.
  • The average customer journey time, between making first point of contact to receiving their Blue Badge, has now dropped from 30 days to 19 days. This number of days is dropping consistently every month.
  • Library staff are now saving 18 hours 45 minutes a month from processing Blue Badges. This time saving figure is rising consistently every month.

Phase 2

  • Adopting the new national online Desktop Assessment System. This will improve the customer experience and waiting times, reduce the need for paper/manual exercises and provide savings and business improvements for the Council through integration with other systems.
  • Introducing online booking and scheduling of IMA appointments. This will help to reduce the current IMA appointment abandonment rate which is currently over 25%.
  • Active promotion of the online application service with the voluntary sector and health partners. This will help further drive West Sussex County Council residents' to the most efficient place to apply.

Read more about the Blue Badge Application Service