Wokingham Borough Council has launched an improved, quicker process for residents applying for a Blue Badge, after listening to feedback from its residents.
The council was aware of some frustrations about its Blue Badge process, and it has taken on board residents’ views to help shape a number of improvements to the online process.
An application can now be made without the need of an online account and can also be completed on behalf of another person, which has made a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable residents in the borough. The online application form can be saved while working on it, and applicants can return and complete it within 14 days. They also have the ability to download the form for their records.
Another improvement will see an automatic email being sent to inform the person their badge is nearing expiry. There is also an option for applicants to pay the £10 fee with their application, via Gov.pay which will be refunded if the application is unsuccessful.
Easier to apply
As well as making it easier to save the application and having the ability to apply on behalf of someone else, the council has also noticed an upturn in the amount of supporting evidence being uploaded with the application. This means that few applicants are requiring the council’s support to complete the form which allows Blue Badges to be ordered quicker once the application has been approved.
The online system, which can be found on the council’s blue parking badges webpage, will advise applicants how to renew or apply for a Blue Badge. There are also details on the website about eligibility criteria and how long a Blue Badge is valid for.
Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for resident services, communications and emissions, said: “We recognised that our online application form was causing unnecessary frustrations for some of our applicants. You spoke and we have listened. The improvements we have now made means the customer experience is much smoother and more efficient. We’re always looking to make improvements for our customers and making it easier for them to interact with us. And since the launch in December, we have received more than 100 applications and the early feedback is very positive.”
Lisa, who applied for a Blue Badge on behalf of someone else, said: “The link for the new form was easy to locate on the website, and it very easy and intuitive to use. It was also really easy to upload the documents at the same time, in comparison to having to post the documents last time we applied for a badge. I would recommend the online service to others.”
Mr Khan also applied for a new Blue Badge, and said: “The new online service was very straight forward and a lot quicker in comparison to a previous renewal. It was easy to use and understand. I would highly recommend the online service to others.”
For those needing assistance completing the form, the council can arrange a telephone appointment. To book a telephone appointment, please call (0118) 974 6000 and choose option 5, then option 3 for the Blue Badge team.