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Bournemouth's Blue Badge disabled parking scheme "abused by drivers"
BOURNEMOUTH’S ‘Blue Badge’ scheme for disabled motorists is open to “significant abuse” because basic checks are not being carried out, auditors have found.
An audit investigation uncovered a number of flaws in the application and assessment process that has left Bournemouth council “exposed to fraudulent applications.”
They discovered that independent mobility assessments were not being undertaken and that documents proving identity and disability were not being checked.
They also found that badges were wrongly issued to all applicants over the age of 80, regardless of their mobility. And in one case, a blue badge was awarded to a motorist who did not even formally apply for a badge but simply wrote to the council requesting one.
The council’s processes for recovering badges from holders who had died were also highlighted as “inconsistent.”
“The current system used to assess the eligibility of applications is, in its current state, open to significant abuse,” the report stated. “There is a high risk of fraudulent applications being approved and subsequently badges issued.”
The critical report was presented to councillors on Bournemouth’s audit and governance committee yesterday.
They approved a series of recommendations to tighten up the process to ensure that blue badges are not falling into the wrong hands.
Cllr Ben Grower, chair of the committee, said: “The internal audit report on the issue of Blue Badges was fully considered by the committee. The issues raised by the report were fully reviewed by the committee and it is assured that the action plan put in place by management will address the issues raised.”
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