A busy week of Fair4All Card applications

A laptop on a tidy desk showing the Fair4All website.

Cary talks about running the applications for a week

I’ve had a busy week sorting out Fair4All Card applications, so I wanted to take some time to talk to you about what I’ve been doing.

Last week was a bit strange as most of our team were absent for one reason or another, which meant that I had a lot of applications to keep going. I had to pick up some from part way through, and I had to take others through the entire process. 

But what is that process? Read on to find out.

Well, naturally when an application arrives, step one is “be very excited and make sure the team knows”. The second thing, more serious thing I do is open up our secure database and make sure that everything is filed away properly, accurately, and safely. It’s an important part of the job, and here at BuDS we take safeguarding and data protection very seriously. 

I then send the applicant an email to ask for their evidence, making sure that I give them some examples of what would be helpful. This is often a diagnosis letter, medical records or a school EHCP if the applicant is still in school. 

Next, I get a bit of a break while I wait for the applicant to send me their evidence. Some people get back to me pretty quickly, others need a bit of gentle nudging and the occasional phone call, but we get most people back into the system pretty quickly. 

After the evidence arrives, the next stage is to book an evidence checking session with one of our decision makers. This can require some careful scheduling as we’re all very busy people here on the Fair4All Card team. But, once this has been managed, it’s time to get back in touch with our applicants and give them the good news. 

Sometimes we need to get a bit more information from them to check why they asked for something, as we know that medical documents don’t always show the whole picture. I work with the applicants to explain what we still need to know, and I then pass that on to our decision makers who tell me if I can go ahead. 

Once everything has all been approved, the next step is to condense the statements down. We can only fit 7 statements onto a card, and a lot of our applicants ask for a lot more than this. Over the last year, myself and the team have somewhat perfected the art of getting all of the major points condensed down to something that will fit on the Fair4All Card. We’ve actually got a section in our team files dedicated to this to make our lives easier – it saves a lot of time. We used to spend over 30 minutes condensing statements, but we’re now down to an average of just under 10 minutes! 

Of course, it’s very important to us that our suggested condensed statements match up with what our applicants need, so the next step is to email them. This is one of the best parts of the process as it means I am coming up to finishing their application process and they are getting closer and closer to receiving their Fair4All Card in the post. 

Most of the time, our applicants are happy with our suggestions, but sometimes our applicants want something a bit different which is absolutely fine. When this happens, I work with them until together we can come up with something that works for them. 

After this, the end is in sight and the process is nearly finished. I ask them for their address, photo and give them the link to pay for the Card. Obviously, if someone is unable to pay then we are able to find alternative arrangements because accessibility is incredibly important to us. 

Now that all of the application process is complete, all that is left to do is for me to ask one of the volunteers to print the Cards and tell our applicants that their Card is on its way to them. This is my favourite part of the whole process as it means that a Fair4All Card is ready to help someone else get the reasonable adjustments they need and deserve. 

It may sound like a lot of steps, but really, it’s quite simple once you get the hang of it. I’ve been working on the Fair4All Card Scheme since August 2020, so seeing it all come together, exactly how we imagined it, has been incredible. I love helping our applicants, and it makes me so happy when they give us feedback about how they are getting on with their Fair4All Card. 

Hopefully this week will be a bit less hectic now that some of the other volunteers are back!