Northgate bags Blue Badge Improvement Service
10-Jun-2011 - [Northgate Public Services]
Northgate Public Services today announces that it has been awarded a five-year contract to deliver the national Blue Badge Improvement Service on behalf of central government and local authorities.
The new service is aimed at responding to the challenge of continued high demand for badges and preventing fraud, while improving customer service and the administration and enforcement of the Blue Badge Scheme.
The Scheme, which was established in 1971, gives 2.5 million disabled people access to priority parking spaces enabling them to park close to where they want to go. The Blue Badge Improvement Service will enable disabled people to apply for and renew badges quickly and easily, help local authorities operating the scheme to deliver more effective services and cut down on fraud and abuse, and supply a new design of the Blue Badge itself.
Northgate, in association with Payne Security who will print, supply and distribute the newly designed badge, will develop a secure web-based service available over Government Connect. The service will provide:
The new card will be harder to copy, alter or forge through the introduction of sophisticated anti-fraud and anti-copy technologies.
The service aims to go live on 1 January 2012.
In an innovative move, the capital costs of the service will be funded by Northgate and Payne Security. They will recoup this investment over the lifetime of the contract through a charge per badge to local authorities.
Local authorities will also be given the choice to opt for a fully managed Blue Badge Service operated by Northgate on behalf of local authorities. For an additional payment, Northgate will deal with the applicant’s claim from start to finish.
The improvement service is part of a package of reforms developed in close consultation with disabled people and local authorities announced by the Department for Transport in February this year.
Dave Meaden, Chief Executive, Northgate Public Services said today: “Blue Badge is an essential service for disabled people. We are committed to making it more effective for the millions of disabled people who rely on it.
“This innovative programme is focused on enhancing vital local services for disabled people through preventing abuse, improving delivery and planning for increased demand in the future. In difficult times, it shows that improvements for people really can be achieved through new ways of working and using resources.”
Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said: “The Blue Badge Scheme is a positive help to millions of disabled people every day. In February, I announced major reforms to the scheme and I am now pleased, as the next step, to award this contract for the Blue Badge Improvement Service which will see even more of these reforms come into fruition, helping us to modernise the Blue Badge Scheme to ensure that it provides a fair and consistent local service for disabled people.”
Mark Andrews, Head of Contact Centre Services for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Cambridgeshire County Council has worked with The Department for Transport to advise on developments for the Blue Badge Improvement Service. The proposed new service will go a long way to address many of the concerns that are raised by both local authorities and Blue Badge holders and we believe that this self-funded service is an excellent way of delivering better for less - enabling local authorities to provide improved services to citizens while gaining from efficiencies.”
Northgate’s latest achievement is built upon a successful track record of delivering innovative services of a similar nature. These include working with the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payment Services, the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme and the National Joint Registry. The company currently works with 95 per cent of local authorities and its strong relationship with these was critical to its success.
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