C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision. They had applied for a self-isolation support (SIS) grant as they worked as a taxi driver and one of their passengers had tested positive for COVID-19. They were advised to self-isolate via the Protect Scotland app.
The council declined the initial application on the basis that C had not been asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect (T&P), and had instead been notified by the app. As such, C's details were not shown on the daily list that they receive from T&P, and they therefore assessed that the eligibility criteria was not met. C requested a first tier review of the decision. The council made some further enquiries to check if C had been asked to self-isolate by T&P, however, as their checks were negative, they did not change their decision.
We reviewed the council’s case file and spoke with C for further information. We also contacted T&P and two other national COVID-19 helplines to query why C's details had not been added to the T&P list. In doing so, we were advised that because the passenger did not know C's name when they spoke to T&P to confirm their close contacts, this would have prevented C's details being entered into the system. C told us that T&P advised them to track down the ‘positive case’ to ask them to contact T&P to request that they be added as a ‘close contact’. C said that they felt uncomfortable doing this, as they viewed this as a breach of the passenger’s confidentiality, but were advised that this was the only way of having their details added to the system. They said that they managed to track down the passenger, who agreed to contact T&P. However, despite this, C’s details still did not appear on the T&P list. We asked T&P for a search of C's details to be carried out, as C told us that they had made a number of calls to T&P. However, they said that this would not be possible as they only keep records on live positive cases, and therefore wouldn’t have been able to log C’s phone calls. We asked T&P for a general view of whether someone in C's situation should legitimately be self-isolating as per T&P’s guidelines and were told that they should, in their opinion. We also took into account evidence that C had provided from the Protect Scotland App and from the taxi company they worked with. On the basis of the information available, we were satisfied, on balance, in line with section 4.20 of the guidance, that it was more likely than not that C should be in the T&P system as a close contact. As such, we changed the council’s decision. We were not critical of the council's decision as we deemed that they had followed the guidance, but in the interests of fairness and the overall objectives of the scheme, we deemed that the applicant would have met the eligibility criteria had there not been issues with T&P and the Protect Scotland App. We recorded a finding of SIS - issues arising from draft guidance or data'. We provided feedback that neither decision letter explained the decision in the context of the draft guidance.