Sutton’s unique digital take on the Freedom Pass renewal process has proved a success with more than 85% of pass holders renewing on time.
Sutton leads the way in London for digital Freedom Pass renewals, but remaining residents urged to go online. Sutton Council is leading the way digitally – not only does the borough have one of the highest Freedom Pass renewals rates in London, but it is the only council to ditch paper forms. So far, more than 20,000 older people have reapplied for the free travel offer online themselves or with the help of library staff.
In total, around 79% of those with expiring Freedom Passes in Sutton have reapplied using the quick and easy online renewal process, instead of a paper form favoured in the rest of London. However, there are still more than 5,000 older people who need to renew their passes before the 31 January deadline. To continue travelling in and around London without cost, you must complete a quick and easy renewal process online or at the library, using the unique renewal number you should have received in the post.
Colin Stears, Chair of the Adult Social Services and Health Committee, said:
“Our fantastic online Freedom Pass renewal rate really goes to show that our libraries are at the centre of innovation in London. While other boroughs are still favouring the less efficient paper process, we are using our library service to lead the way digitally.The online renewal process is quicker than waiting for the bus and, if you don’t like computers, our friendly library staff are more than happy to help out, so please grab your letter and get renewing before it is too late. For more information or to find out if you are eligible for a Freedom Pass, go to the London Councils website. If you have not received your renewal letter including your unique renewal number, phone London Councils on 0300 330 1433.
A letter is in about Freedom Passes to your local councillors Alan, Jill and Hamish from Terry Stacy from the London Councils, a body which represents all 33 London Boroughs in the Greater London Authority area.
A number of you have contacted me about people having their freedom pass cancelled for “supposedly” no reason, so I have been doing some digging around and thought I would give you a bit of back ground to the issue and what you need to get your residents to do if they come to you.
As part of the planning process for the 2010 Freedom Pass reissue it was agreed by London councils (cross party) that there should be review of the status of pass holders in 2012/2013 – broadly mid-point in the 5 year validity of the passes which is good practice. This was in response to Councils concerns that by extending the validity period of passes from 2 to 5 years with boroughs would loss the opportunity to check addresses and deceased status as was the previous case.
So since 2010, passes have been issued for 5 years to reduce the impact of repeated renewals on holders with a mid-term review using data matching to identify pass holders who may have passed away or moved out of London. London Councils use a company called Experian, a credit check agency, to do this. This review has identified about 7% to date of passes where there is a question.
From the casework that a number of you have sent me, it appears that the pass holder has moved, I have been told that London Councils would have written to both the old and the new address, asking the pass holder to verify their address. Where the pass holder confirms that they have moved out of London we have cancelled the pass.
For what I hope are obvious reasons, where the pass holder is reported as dead we have not written, but the pass has been cancelled. In a very small number of cases I have been told, and the reported death is not accurate, and it has come to light as the pass holder informs us that their pass has been cancelled. I have been assured in these circumstances London Councils will quite rightly, apologise and renew the pass. In normal circumstances the replacement time from when we have received verification is about 5 working days, rather than weeks. At our pressing London councils will refund any tickets purchased so long as the pass holder can send us those tickets.
Below is the link to the report that TEC which outlines the midterm review
To get a replacement Freedom Pass people need to phone 0845 275 7054
If you need any more information let me know
Cllr Terry Stacy MBE JP
Political Adviser to the Liberal Democrat Group
London Councils, 59½ Southwark Street, London SE1 0AL. Mobile: 07940 502683
London Councils represents all 32 London boroughs and the City of London.