A change in Blue Badge eligibility criteria last year resulted in a surge of additional applications to Knowsley Council throughout the pandemic.
A Blue Badge enables residents to park in more places and for more time than most drivers, helping people who either have trouble getting about or have medical conditions that make having a car nearby vital.
All applications need to be assessed to determine the applicant’s suitability for a Blue Badge. The increase in applications meant that the waiting time to process had increased from four weeks to six months.
The Council has taken action to address the backlog to ensure that applications are processed quickly.
Council staff joined staff from the Centre for Independent Living and North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust to process the backlog of applications.
In addition, the Council invested in an additional Occupational Therapist post to assist with processing applications, ensuring Blue Badges could be issued expeditiously to residents.
As a result of the action taken by the Council in partnership with North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust, waiting times to process Blue Badge applications reduced from 25 weeks to four weeks.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:
“We appreciate how essential a Blue Badge is for our residents, providing them with independence during what can only be described as very difficult times. That’s why we made the decision to prioritise Blue Badge applications, invest in additional resources to clear the backlog, caused by the change in the eligibility criteria, to provide an efficient service to our residents, which I know is appreciated.”