Mishandling of disabled man’s application to renew parking permit

Failures by the London Borough of Redbridge meant that an elderly disabled man lost the use of his disabled parking permit for 23 weeks.

Failures by the London Borough of Redbridge meant that an elderly disabled man lost the use of his disabled parking permit for 23 weeks, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Tony Redmond. In his report, issued today (19 August 2010) he lists five errors by the Council and says: “It was only because [the complainant] complained to me that his name was reinstated on the waiting list and he received his Blue Badge.”

‘Mr Khan’ (not his real name for legal reasons) is 66 years old and suffers from a number of mobility problems. He complained about the way the Council dealt with his application to renew his disabled person’s parking permit (his ‘Blue Badge’). His Blue Badge was renewed, but not until 23 weeks after his previous one had expired.

The Council refused Mr Khan’s initial application although the information it had was sufficient for it to be approved. Although the Council did not tell Mr Khan that he could appeal, he challenged the decision. His name was then removed from the list of those awaiting a mobility assessment. His application was only reconsidered and approved following his complaint to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman says: “The Council’s procedures in general for dealing with Blue Badge applications were inadequate. Its written procedure was not always clear and sometimes at odds with what happened in practice. It did not consistently tell applicants how to appeal. It is likely that Mr Khan’s experience was shared by others.”

The Ombudsman finds that the Council’s faults caused Mr Khan injustice in that he lost the use of his Blue Badge for 23 weeks.

In light of the Ombudsman’s investigation, the Council has already set in train a number of actions to improve its administration of Blue Badge applications. The Ombudsman welcomes this response. In addition to these actions, the Ombudsman recommends the Council to:

  • pay Mr Khan £750 compensation; and
  • check if there were any other applicants whose cases, like Mr Khan’s, were wrongly rejected at the outset and who did not subsequently seek to challenge the decision, and advise the Ombudsman within three months on the progress it has made, in order that he can be assured that the problems Mr Khan experienced will not be repeated.

Report ref no 09 009 572

Article date: 19 August 2010

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