Disabled Freedom Passes

Christopher Stapleton made this Freedom of Information request to Greenwich Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Christopher Stapleton

Dear Greenwich Borough Council,

I would be grateful if you would answer the following questions:

(1) Have there been any changes in your borough’s eligibility criteria for disabled freedom passes over the last eight years?

(2) If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, what have these changes been?

(3) If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, when did the changes take place?

(4) How many disabled freedom passes did your borough issue in each year since, and including, 2006?

Thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Stapleton

foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear requestor

 

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If you are making a new request, your request will be processed and you
will receive an acknowledgment with a reference number for future
correspondence within 24hrs.

 

If you are chasing a late response, we will investigate the delay and get
back to you as soon as possible with an update.

 

For all other enquiries, we will deal with the matter and update you as
appropriate.

 

Yours sincerely

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Royal Borough of Greenwich - LGC Council Of The Year 2013

foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear Christopher Stapleton

 

Ref No:- RFI/07809

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 27^th October 2014
regarding Freedom Passes for people with disability.

 

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

 

If you have any further queries about this request do not hesitate to
contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any
future communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

June Reid

Quality and Insight Manager

Customer Services and ICT Strategy Division

Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

 

' 020 8921 6290  À

*   The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ

8 www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk

 

 

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foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear Mr Stapleton

Freedom of Information request RFI/07809

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, shown below.

Our response is as follows:-

 

(1)  Have there been any changes in your borough’s eligibility criteria
for disabled freedom passes over the last eight years?

Yes

 

(2)  If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, what have these changes been?

Royal Greenwich stopped issuing London only discretionary passes due to
the low number of applicants, the majority of whom were determined to be
eligible under the statutory criteria.  All applicants are required to
meet the Transport Act 2000 eligibility criteria.  Royal Greenwich has
developed a Fitness to Drive proforma to assist in determining eligibility
for applicants who are likely to have applications to drive refused due to
their disability.

 

(3)  If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, when did the changes take
place?

In 2013.

 

(4) How many disabled freedom passes did your borough issue in each year
since, and including, 2006?

Freedom passes issued up to 2010 were not held electronically, which will
have enabled reliable reporting.

2011 = 857

2012 = 966

2013 = 1074

2014 = 1196

 

If you have any queries about this correspondence, please contact me,
quoting the reference number above.

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request, you can ask
for an Internal Review.  If you wish to do this, please contact us,
setting out why you are dissatisfied.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Internal Review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. 
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
Internal Review procedure provided by the Council.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Eileen Edwards
Head of Policy, Partnerships and Performance
Chief Executive’s Department
Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

' 020 8921 5132 
*   The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ
8 [1]www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk  

 

 

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Christopher Stapleton

Dear Eileen Edwards,

Thank you for your response.

I am baffled by your response to Question 2.

I asked what were the changes to the eligibility criteria for Disabled Freedom Passes. Your response to this question does not describe the changes in eligibility criteria. It also makes puzzling reference to fitness to drive.

I should be grateful if you would give me a full and clear answer to Question 2, explaining exactly the 2013 changes in eligibility criteria for Disabled Freedom Passes.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Stapleton

foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear Mr Stapleton

Freedom of Information request:  RFI/07809

Thank you for your request for an Internal Review regarding our response
to your Freedom of Information request.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

In order to assist us with clarifying our response to question 2, please
would you outline what part of the answer you are unclear about.

If you have any queries, please contact me, quoting the reference number.

If you are not content with the outcome of the Internal Review, you can
apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision.
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
Internal Review procedure provided by the Council. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Eileen Edwards
Head of Policy, Partnerships and Performance
Chief Executive’s Department
Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

' 020 8921 5132 
*   The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ
8 [1]www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk  

 

 

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Christopher Stapleton

Dear Ms Edwards,

Thank you for your response.

I have not requested an Internal Review, I have simply asked for a full and clear answer to Question 2, in which I asked, in relation to changes to your eligibility criteria for a Disabled Freedom Pass, "what have these changes been?".

In order to answer this question, you would need to tell me not just what the current criteria are, but what changes to the criteria were made in 2013 to make them different from the criteria in force before 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Stapleton

foi, Greenwich Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Stapleton

Internal Review on Freedom of Information request RFI/07809

Thank you for your Internal Review request on the handling of your Freedom
of Information request, where you sought further clarification on question
2.

 

Full and clear answer to Question 2, in which I asked, in relation to
changes to your eligibility criteria for a Disabled Freedom Pass, "what
have these changes been?".

 

In order to answer this question, you would need to tell me not just what
the current criteria are, but what changes to the criteria were made in
2013 to make them different from the criteria in force before 2013.

 

The Council took the decision on 17th June 2014 that all Disabled Freedom
Pass applicants will be subject to the mandatory criteria set out in the
Transport Act 2000 and that the historical local discretion will cease,
except in exceptional circumstances.  Experience over the past two years
has demonstrated that because the Mobility Team is now more robustly
assessing applicants against the eligibility criteria set out in the
Transport Act 2000, the majority of applicants meet one of the seven
mandatory criteria.  The Department for Transport (DfT) issued revised
guidance in April 2013 encouraging Local Authorities to use the same
independent mobility assessor approach to the application process as for
the Blue Badge Scheme and to fully utilise the seven categories set out in
the Transport Act.  This has been the approach in Greenwich since April
2012.

 

A minority of Disabled Freedom Passes had traditionally been issued at the
discretion of the Local Authority and enabled the pass holder free travel
within London only.  There were approximately 250 “London Only” Disabled
Freedom Passes issued under the Greenwich discretionary criteria between
April 2010 and June 2014 – a reduction of 200 from the 2010 renewal.  The
local Greenwich discretionary criteria were:-

 

•           Discretionary passes issued to people who are HIV+ with CD4
count below 200 where they do not meet other Transport Act (2000)
criteria.

•           Discretionary passes issued to people on enhanced or standard
Care Programme Approach not meeting the Transport Act 2000 criteria but
needing to travel to maintain their mental health and assist recovery &
social inclusion (e.g. attendance at appointments, day activities, support
groups, training etc.).

•           Discretionary passes to be issued in other cases only
following review of their application or renewal form and authorisation by
a Team Manager.

 

The Mobility Team reviewed their approach to the provision of Freedom
Passes for people with mental health issues in line with the revised DfT
guidance and the practice of other London Boroughs.  Since January 2014,
the Team ask the service user’s lead mental health practitioner to
complete a “Fitness to Drive” proforma which helps to determine whether
the person meets mandatory criteria G of the Transport Act 2000.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the Internal Review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision.
Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the
Internal Review procedure provided by the Council. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Eileen Edwards
Head of Policy, Partnerships and Performance
Chief Executive’s Department
Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

020 8921 5132 
The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ
[1]www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk

 

 

 

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