C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision. They had applied for a crisis grant as they had been staying with a family member but had been asked to leave. They had their own property but had not been living there as they had significant health problems and it was not close to their support network or children. Their social worker was supporting them to request a transfer to a more suitable location. However, in the meantime C planned to return to the property temporarily. They requested money for food and utilities and additional assistance to clear the standing charges debts that had accrued on their meters from when they were not staying there.
The council made an award for food and utilities for a 14 day period but declined the application for assistance with debts on meters. C requested a first tier review of the decision but they did not change their original decision.
We reviewed the council’s case file and spoke with C for further information. We also spoke with C's social worker who agreed to assist with a supervised spend if needed. We disagreed with the council’s assessment that C should not be awarded assistance with clearing the meters. While we understood that some of the evidence provided suggested that C would not be living at the property, having spoken with C and their social worker, we were satisfied on balance that C planned to live there temporarily . As such, we changed the council’s decision and awarded C assistance to clear the debts on their meters. We also provided the council with feedback about them not sending an initial decision letter and being outwith timescale for their initial decision.