Social Research - The Use and Value of the Blue Badge Scheme

2. Methodology

2.1 This section sets out our methodology for undertaking the research which involved a telephone survey, supplemented by focus groups.

Telephone Survey

2.2 We sought to undertake a telephone survey of 800 Blue Badge holders from across Scotland. Currently there is no national database of Blue Badge holders and we therefore identified Badge holders from the Scottish Household Survey (SHS)[4]. This national survey, undertaken annually, asks whether the householder or someone else in the household is a Blue Badge holder.

2.3 Based on 2009 published data, the Scottish Government was able to identify a total of 1,623 individuals that were Blue Badge holders and had given their permission to be re-contacted for further research.[5]

2.4 We sent an introductory letter to all of the 1,623 individuals for whom we had contact details. This letter detailed the purpose of the research, how individuals had been recruited and explained that an interviewer would attempt to call them to undertake an interview by telephone. The letter also noted that if special communication needs were required (for instance 'type talk' facilities) or if individuals wished to set up an appointment we would be able to facilitate this.

2.5 We interviewed a total of 812 respondents who were either a Blue Badge holder themselves or had a Blue Badge holder in their household, providing data accurate to plus or minus approximately 3.5% (based upon a 50% estimate at the 95% confidence level).

2.6 The telephone survey questionnaire (Appendix 1) was designed to find out how the Blue Badge is used and the contribution the Badge makes to people's lives. It covered the following key topics:

  • getting a Blue Badge;
  • how and why the Blue Badge is used;
  • the value of the Blue Badge scheme;
  • restrictions and enforcements; and
  • about the Blue Badge holder.

2.7 Table 2.1 shows the age and gender profile of telephone respondents compared to the SHS data.

Table 2.1: Age and gender response profile

Table 2.1: Age and gender response profile
Age and Gender survey response profile compared to SHS data
Demographic SHS data (%) 2012 Blue Badge Survey (%)[6]
Gender Male 43 41
Female 57 59
Age Under 16 Not known 3
16-24 2 1
25-44 8 4
45-59 21 17
60-64 12 11
65-74 25 32
75-84 24 25
85+ 9 8

2.8 We weighted the data by local authority area to ensure that the results were proportionately representative of the SHS local authority profile.

Table 2.2: Local authority response profile for telephone survey

Table 2.2: Local authority response profile for telephone survey
Local Authority SHS data (%) 2012 Blue Badge Survey (%)
Aberdeen City 3 3
Aberdeenshire 5 3
Angus 2 2
Argyll & Bute 2 3
Clackmannanshire 1 1
Dumfries & Galloway 4 4
Dundee City 3 2
East Ayrshire 3 4
East Dunbartonshire 2 2
East Lothian 2 2
East Renfrewshire 1 1
Edinburgh, City of 7 5
Eilean Siar <1 3
Falkirk 3 2
Fife 8 8
Glasgow City 9 7
Highland 4 5
Inverclyde 2 2
Midlothian 2 3
Moray 2 2
North Ayrshire 3 3
North Lanarkshire 7 6
Orkney Islands < 1 3
Perth & Kinross 3 2
Renfrewshire 4 5
Scottish Borders 2 2
Shetland Islands <1 3
South Ayrshire 2 1
South Lanarkshire 7 5
Stirling 2 2
West Dunbartonshire 2 3
West Lothian 3 3

Focus Groups

2.9 We held nine focus groups and conducted three depth interviews with Blue Badge holders or the parents of Blue Badge holders. The focus groups were designed to supplement the information gathered in the telephone interviews in terms of:

  • current use of the Blue Badge;
  • views on the administration and management of the Blue Badge scheme;
  • misuse of Blue Badges;
  • links with other transport provision; and
  • future use of the Blue Badge.

2.10 In total, sixty-seven participants gave their views. We recruited participants for four of the groups from people who participated in the telephone interviews (and indicated a wish to take part). Participants in the five remaining groups were recruited through organisations such as Senior's Forums and ethnic minority day centres, based on achieving a geographic spread and diversity and ensuring that there were enough willing participants to support a group discussion.

2.11 We identified four organisations to assist in the recruitment of participants in the remaining groups. These were chosen to reflect groups of people who were unlikely to be represented in the geographically based groups. They included a group of:

  • Blue Badge holders living in a rural area;
  • Blue Badge holders living in one of the 15% most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland;
  • Blue Badge holders from an ethnic minority background; and
  • parents of children with disabilities who are Blue Badge holders.

2.12 We also held a shorter focus group with six children who were Blue Badge holders. Their parents also participated in one of the groups.

2.13 In addition we undertook three depth telephone interviews with parents of children with disabilities who were either unable to attend a focus group or where there were insufficient numbers of people to hold a focus group and they wished to contribute.

2.14 Overall we held focus groups with people living in seven local authority areas.

Table 2.3: Location and characteristics of focus groups

Table 2.3: Location and characteristics of focus groups
Local Authority Reason Chosen Source No. of Attendees
Aberdeenshire Rural area Existing group 10
Edinburgh Parents of disabled children Existing group 6
Edinburgh Disabled young people Existing group 6
Glasgow Ethnic minority background Existing group 7
West Dunbartonshire Area of deprivation Existing group 7
Edinburgh Recontacts from survey 13
Renfrewshire Recontacts from survey 5
North Lanarkshire Recontacts from survey 5
South Ayrshire Recontacts from survey 5
Dumfries and Galloway Parents of disabled children Telephone interview 2
West Dunbartonshire Parent of disabled child Telephone interview 1

2.15 There are higher rates of Blue Badges among women in comparison to men. This is because women tend to live longer than men. Therefore we invited more women to participate in group discussions than men. However, the final participant mix is more biased towards men than women (38 men and 29 women).

2.16 We know from the SHS data that the majority of Blue Badge holders are 60 years of age and over (70% of those surveyed) and a quarter are aged between 70 and 79 years. For the groups recruited from the re-contact information, we were able to take their age into consideration during recruitment. Where existing groups were contacted; we had no control over the age of participants, other than to ask for 'a mix of ages' as far as possible. Overall, where identifiable, we were able to speak to 23 participants who fell into the 60-64 age band or below and six young people (aged 12-14 years).

2.17 Table 2.4 provides a profile of participants by gender and age.

Table 2.4: Participant Profile

Table 2.4: Participant Profile
Gender Number %
Men 38 57
Women 29 43
< 16 6 9
17-24 1 1
25-34 0 0
35-44 5 7
45-54 7 10
55-64 10 15
65-74 25 37
75-84 6 9
Not given 7 10