The blue badge scheme, originally issued by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability, has now been transferred to Aġenzija Sapport, Inclusion Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli announced on Tuesday. 

As of March 1, 2022, those who wish to apply for a blue badge will apply with Aġenzija Sapport.

The blue badge is a legal document issued to drivers with severe and permanent mobility restrictions, that allows them to park in specific reserved places.

More than 6,000 people were issued with the document or had it renewed last year.

Farrugia Portelli said the decision simplifies the process and is a step towards the 'one-stop-shop' concept where services are provided by a single agency.

She explained the document is also valid in several EU countries as well as in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, USA and South Korea. 

“In 2021, CRPD issued 3,819 new blue badges and 2,417 renewals. As you can see this is a process that requires a lot of work, so we want to provide a more holistic service for people with a disability, especially so they do not have to travel from one office to another for a service.”

She said CRPD will now take on the role of educational campaigning and enforcement.

Ruth Sciberras, CEO of Aġenzija Sapport, said workers will undergo any necessary training.

Samantha Pace Gasan, CRPD Commissioner, said the move is part of a continuation of the process first initiated in 2017.

"We will now take on a regulatory role. The blue badge is an important document that offers accessibility and inclusion to persons with disability. Without it many people would face isolation," she said.

She said in 2021, 206 reports of abuse were investigated, with most turning out to be genuine cases. 

"There are disabilities which are not visible, so sometimes these people are mistaken to be misusing the blue badge, but it would not be the case," she said.

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