Blue Badge Scheme FAQ's

Why is the Blue Badge being re-designed?

  • The current design is easily copied and forged. Many local authorities and disabled people have reported incidents involving the use of fraudulent Blue Badge copies.
  • Production of the badge is time consuming for local authorities. Local authorities currently have to personalise the badge by handwriting the details and cutting and gluing the holder’s signature and photograph, onto the badge. This leads to inconsistencies and details can easily be changed. The ink can also fade over the three-year lifetime of the badge.
  • There are potential security issues with the storage and distribution of badges, with some local authorities reporting missing stock. Central production and distribution will remove the need for local authorities to order stock and store blank badges.
  • Local authorities have said that the standardisation of information on the badge will help enforcement

How has the Badge been re-designed?

  • The badge will be harder to copy and to forge and the physical security features of the badge will be enhanced, with the use of new technologies and printing techniques.
  • A single supplier has been contracted to personalise, print and distribute badges to improve security in production, distribution and supply, to reduce production costs and to simplify the process and help local authorities realise efficiency savings.

How will the new Blue Badge make the scheme better?

By finding a supplier to manufacture and personalise the badge on behalf of local authorities it will lead to:

  • Greater consistency in the appearance of the badge.
  • The ability to use different manufacturing and personalisation techniques offered by a single specialist supplier, increasing the options of security features for the badge.
  • The ability to make subtle changes to the badge quickly should the new-style badge be fraudulently reproduced.
  • Local authorities no longer have to order stock and securely store the blank badges, freeing up space and time and removing the threat of theft.
  • Local authorities will no longer have to personalise each badge they issue, saving time.
  • Identifying and standardising the information on the badge will aid enforcement, especially cross boundary checks.
  • Enhancing the security features of the badge will help deter fraudsters and will boost the credibility of the scheme.
  • All Scottish applicants will receive a parking clock for use in England and Wales, saving the badge holder for having to make a prior request to their local authority for a badge.

Will the new database be safe and secure?

  • The system and the data store will adhere to strict HMG security standards and will only be accessible over secure Government network links.
  • Local authority administrators will be appointed to control access to the service.
  • Only authorised LA staff will have access to the system which will be controlled by unique log-on IDs and passwords.
  • The system will comply and be operated within the requirements laid out in the Data Protection Act.

Will the new badge be ’smart’ and include a readable chip?

  • Not at this time. Badges need to be displayed in the windscreen of a car and so are used in a different way to bus and train tickets. Enforcement will still be reliant on an officer walking past a vehicle with a hand-held device that is capable of reading the chip through a windscreen.
  • The costs would be prohibitive at this time.
  • But the new style badge could include a chip at some point in the future (e.g. five years) if costs reduce and hand-held devices are more available.
  • The unique numbering system on the new badge will link in with the BBIS and will enable roadside checks to be made using SMART phones and mobile devices.

Have the rules changed on eligibility?

  • We have extended automatic eligibility to severely injured service personnel and war veterans in receipt of an award within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
  • The use of independent mobility assessments, which will come into effect on 1 September 2012, may result in some people not being able to get a badge at renewal because of the more robust and objective assessment.

What is changing with respect to assessments of applicants?

  • From 1 September 2012, some people will be referred to an independent mobility assessor when they apply for a badge. This is to ensure that those most in need receive a badge and that they are assessed by a person who is trained in assessing mobility needs.
  • This will only apply to people applying under the “unable to walk or virtually unable to walk” assessment’ criteria. If they are seen at the time of their first application, the assessor may decide that they will not need to be assessed again at renewal time and note the database record accordingly.
  • Independent mobility assessors are being used to help avoid compromising the GP/patient relationship.

What will it mean if I apply on-line?

  • Applying on line through https://www.mygov.scot/apply-blue-badge/ (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) should make it easier for applicants as they will only be asked to complete those sections which are relevant to the eligibility under which they are applying.
  • If applicants provide a mobile phone number or email address, reminders can be sent at renewal time. Otherwise, they will be sent a letter.
  • Some automatic checks can be made to help speed up applications and to reduce and prevent fraud.
  • Applicants will be able to track the progress of their application and to pay on line should they choose to do so.

What are the environmental credentials of the badge, clock and the booklet?

  • The booklet is 100% recyclable.
  • The new parking clock is made from 50% recycled polypropylene and is 100% recyclable.
  • The new badge is made from a combination of PVC and PET and is 50% recyclable. It cannot be fully recycled due to the new security features and the need for the badge to withstand being placed in heat and sunlight for long periods of time.
  • The new badge has been tested for heat resistance. It can withstand temperatures of at least 120 degrees Celsius. The inks used are developed to be lightfast. 

Why are clocks being issued in Scotland?

  • Clocks are automatically inserted into the Blue Badge pack to eligible applicants across Great Britain. Although not in use in Scotland, the clock will enable Scottish Badge holders to park in England under the terms of the English scheme.

What is the BBIS?

  • The English, Scottish and Welsh Governments have been working closely with local authorities and Northgate Information Solutions, in partnership with Payne Security, to develop a new system for issuing badges and delivering common services.

The Blue Badge Improvement Service will offer:

  • secure printing, supply and distribution of a new Blue Badge.
  • a common store of key information on badges and badge holders to enable verification checks to be made quickly and easily, either from a PC or via smart phones or similar technology.
  • a web-based management information system for local authorities.
  • a national on-line application form available via https://bluebadge.direct.gov.uk/bluebadge/ (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
  • A range of ‘opt-in’ additional services, for example, sending out automatic renewal letters.

What are the advantages of the BBIS?

  • By establishing a common system for processing Blue Badge information and securely printing and distributing badges, we can prevent fraud and abuse.
  • Local authorities will have instant access to key Blue Badge details anywhere in Great Britain, not just in their local authority area. 

What does the new badge Look like?

This is an indication of what the new badge will look like. It will start being issued from 1 January 2012.

the front of new blue badge

the back of new blue badge