C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. They had applied for a Self-Isolation Support Grant as they had tested positive for COVID-19 and were required to self-isolate. As C worked in the hospitality industry they were unable to work from home and experienced a reduction in income.
The council declined the initial application on the basis that C was not advised to self-isolate by the Test and Protect service. C requested a first tier review of the decision and provided screenshots of messages they had received from the Test and Protect service asking them to self-isolate. The council subsequently made enquiries with the Test and Protect service, who advised that C had had multiple positive test results within 90 days so were not advised to self-isolate. The council did not change their original decision.
We reviewed the council's case file and spoke with C for further information. We also made enquiries with the Test and Protect service to establish if C was advised to self-isolate. The Test and Protect service confirmed that this was a complex case due to multiple tests being taken within 90 days. However, they verified that a notification to self-isolate was sent to the applicant and they were not advised that they did not need to self-isolate for a further five days. They explained that if an applicant tests positive an automatic notification is generated and this had been sent to C. The Test and Protect service also advised it is expected for people who have previously tested positive to continue to test positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of their previous positive case. However, we noted that the applicant was not advised of this and self-isolated for five days in line with the instruction they had received. We disagreed with the council’s assessment that C was not eligible for an award as they had been advised to self-isolate by official means, albeit this advice changed after five days. As per section 4.19 of the guidance we were able to gain sufficient information and evidence to support C’s version of events. We assessed that C’s application met the remaining criteria and instructed the council to award them £500. We also provided feedback to the council around their decision timescales and written communication.