Labour: Freedom Passes must be reinstated until 2020

  • And there should be no new restrictions in eligibility criteria

Barnet's Labour councillors have called for all cancelled disabled persons' Freedom Passes to be reinstated until 2020, following news that the council will only be reinstating them temporarily until a review of eligibility criteria is done.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings, had placed the issue of cancelled Passes on the agenda at last night's Policy & Resources Committee (17 May), and got agreement that a full report into what had gone wrong would address each of the following issues and be brought back to the Committee for decision:

  • That the recently reinstated Disabled Persons Freedom Passes should be renewed to 2020.
  • No new restrictions to the eligibility criteria for discretionary disabled persons' Freedom Passes should be proposed going forward.
  • Where the Council needs to set-out / confirm eligibility criteria for discretionary Passes these criteria should not result in any current Pass-holders losing their Pass.
  • The eligibility criteria for discretionary disabled persons' Freedom Passes must be agreed by the P&R committee and be subject to consultation, including in Easy Read. This consultation must also include Adult & Community Services.
  • The new 0-25 team should ensure service users are enabled to have choices and independence (as required by the Care Act), and that they are not disadvantaged when turning 18 by losing the ability to travel freely if it restricts their ability to study, work and socialise.
  • The eligibility criteria for discretionary Passes should comply with the Care Act, including the requirement to enable choice and independence.
  • Only 20% of Adults with long term needs have a Care Plan therefore LB Barnet should not use 'known to Adult Services' as a local criteria for discretionary granting of Freedom Passes.
  • If an assessment decides someone is no longer entitled to a discretionary pass they need to be assessed against their ability to have a driving licence before a final decision is made.
  • If a Pass is to be removed there must be a right of appeal - and the status quo must be observed until the end of the appeal process. 
  • That any Pass-holders who have lost out financially because of the cancellation of their Pass should receive compensation from the Council.
Labour councillors are also calling for the Assisted Travel service to be brought back in-house from Capita CSG.

Cllr Rawlings said: "This appalling and careless error has caused hundreds of vulnerable people hurt and humiliation - they deserve a full explanation and compensation where appropriate.

"They also deserve to have confidence that they can use their Passes without fear of another round of reassessments for the next four years.
"Many Pass-holders have lifelong conditions and should not be forced to go through a regular reassessment in order to maintain their independence.
"When the report into this terrible episode comes back to committee we will need to see some political accountability from the Conservative administration, as they have known for over a year about the plan to restrict the eligibility criteria, and this is a policy change that should not even have been considered let alone implemented without due process."

1.     For a copy of Cllr Rawlings' Member's Item on disabled persons' Freedom Passes see:

2. For the full Policy & Resources Committee agenda see:

3. For more from Barnet Labour on Freedom Passes:

4. To sign Labour's petition to get the Passes reinstated with no change in eligibility criteria see:

For more information contact Cllr Barry Rawlings:

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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