Backlog of blue badge applications still a problem says Committee

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 12 October 2016

Reference: CfI 04/16/17

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Infrastructure has criticised the Department's handling of the backlog in issuing blue badges to those with mobility issues at their meeting today.

The Committee received a response from the Department on the number of staff processing blue badge applications and the number of applications being processed each day after requesting the Department provide the information.

Chairperson of the Committee, William Humphrey MLA said: "My Committee has been following the continuing problems with blue badge applications, particularly in relation to the backlog which is of great concern to those who have problems with mobility.

"We were pleased that the Minister heeded our call for immediate action to rectify this situation but we are now concerned that enough is not being done. At an earlier meeting the Department was unable to give us precise figures for the number of staff dealing with the backlog. We have now been informed that there are 12 staff, which includes six agency staff, and they process between 150-200 applications per day. As there are approximately 200 new applications coming in every day it is difficult to see how the Department believes that the backlog can be tackled in any meaningful way.

"Additionally, it is worrying to hear that there are some 3,600 applicants that have been waiting over eight weeks for their new badges—breaching the Department's own normal timescales.

"This situation simply cannot be left to continue as it has been. We will be pressing the Minister and the Department to come up with a realistic plan to deal with the backlog and a commitment to ensuring that such a backlog will not build up again in the future."

ENDS.

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