Motability fleet declines as customers fail to quality under PIP reassessment

In Motability Operations' Annual Report for 2017, the organisation has revealed the Motability fleet size has declined from 648,000 in 2016 to 629,000 in 2017, a reduction of 2.9%, as over 40% of working-age customers fail to meet the Scheme’s criteria after PIP reassessments.

Contracted by Motability (the Charity) to operate the Motability Car, Powered Wheelchair & Scooter Scheme, Motability Operations have operated the Scheme since 1978, aiming to deliver a consistent, ‘worry-free’ leasing proposition to recipients of qualifying mobility allowances across the UK.

Mike Betts, Chief Executive of Mobility Operations, commented in the report: "Currently, around 43% of working-age customers undergoing reassessment fail to qualify for the enhanced mobility rate of PIP, which they need to remain eligible for the Scheme. With these customers leaving the Scheme, the fleet size declined slightly this year, although the Scheme also attracted around 72,000 brand new customers, who chose to use their allowance to lease a Motability car, powered wheelchair or scooter.”

The organisation cited that welfare reform caused by the introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment resulted in a large number of customers losing eligibility, resulting in Motability Operations having to provide a more flexible solution.

"During the year, we worked with Motability to make changes to the package of support we offer to customers losing eligibility for the Scheme as a result of PIP assessment, to provide more flexibility. Customers can now choose whether to take the full financial support payment of up to £2,000, or keep the car for up to six months, at which point they receive a reduced sum of up to £500,” stated Neil Johnson OBE, Chairman of Motability Operations.

"By the end of the year, we had around 189,000 PIP customers, whether first-time applicants or those transitioning from Disability Living Allowance (DLA). We expect that by summer 2018, more than half of customers will be qualifying through PIP.”

With 1.8m people in receipt of a qualifying allowance allowing them to choose to lease through the Motability, there are 629k customers who currently choose to use the Scheme through 4,800 approved Motability dealers across the UK.

The changing qualifying criteria for PIP has also led to an increase in the number of customers with mental health and cognitive conditions gaining eligibility to the Scheme, leading the organisation to provide more training to dealers.

"To provide appropriate and timely support, we have invested in specific additional training with expert organisations such as Mind. Mind has also helped us devise resilience programmes for our customer service teams, to assist them in handling a larger volume of challenging calls,” said Neil Johnson OBE in his Chairman’s statement.

"A successful series of business briefings to more than 3,000 dealers through January and February brought the topic of neurological conditions into focus. This included advice on how to prepare the showroom environment and train dealership staff to assist customers with wide-ranging cognitive conditions.”

Going forward, the company acknowledged that the potential implications of Brexit could be a challenge as the organisation prepares for a revised structure from 2019.

To find out more, read the full report HERE