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Scottish Welfare Fund news - October 2023

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Last month we:

  • responded to 60 enquiries
  • made 46 decisions
    • 12 community care grants
    • 34 crisis grants
  • upheld 42% of community care grants and 15% of crisis grants
  • signposted an additional 92 applicants to other sources of assistance. 78% of these were calling us instead of their local council in error. Five applicants were unable to contact the council as there was no freephone number in place or they had problems applying online
  • received nine enquiries from councils seeking advice

Stakeholder engagement

We continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to raise awareness of the independent review function. This has included the Adult Standing Committee (social work) and the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum in recent weeks.

Case studies

Meeting the need

C asked for an independent review of the Council's decision on their community care grant. They had applied after moving into a tenancy following a period of homelessness.

The Council awarded the initial application on the basis that C met the necessary criteria and that the items met the necessary priority level. C requested a first-tier review of the decision as they were unhappy with the carpeting that was awarded due to a foot condition, and that the washing machine and fridge freezer were not acceptable due to their age and length of warranty. The Council did not change their decision.

We reviewed the Council's case file and spoke with C for further information about their circumstances. C confirmed that they were happy to accept the carpeting which had been offered at the first-tier review. They confirmed that they were unhappy with the age and length of warranty of the washing machine and fridge freezer. At that point, the applicant’s curtain order had not been completed so we contacted the Council to ask them to arrange for this to be done. Overall, we assessed that the way in which the council had fulfilled the award was reasonable and did not change the Council’s decision.

C subsequently requested a reconsideration of the decision. They advised that the curtains the Council's supplier offered did not fit and were not suitable as they were translucent. They also wished to challenge the decision to award second hand goods on the basis that they said they were offered a fridge which was several years old, there was no warranty available to view, and they were concerned about potential safety issues with second hand washing machines. We partially changed the Council's decision and instructed a cash award for the curtains as we assessed that the council's supplier did not offer a suitable size. We did not change the decision with regards to the second hand goods that were offered. While we acknowledged that a new model may be preferable and would offer a longer warranty, the current guidance allows Councils discretion over the fulfilment method as long as they follow the requirements of section 4.51 of the guidance.

You can find more case studies in the searchable directory on our website.

Updated: October 18, 2023