C asked the SPSO to review the council's decision to refuse their community care grant application for a single bed, single bedding pack and chest of drawers. C had applied for these items, and a replacement fridge freezer, as they were in the process of going to court to arrange overnight access to their child. C considered that the award of these items would help demonstrate that they could provide a safe and appropriate environment for their child.
The council awarded the fridge freezer but refused all the items for C's child's room, stating that they did not meet the council's current priority. They did not change their decision at first tier.
We reviewed the council's file and contacted C by email for additional information. We also spoke with C’s lawyer, who confirmed that they were acting on behalf of C, and that there was a likelihood that C would be successful in obtaining access to their child. On this basis, we changed the council's decision and assessed that all items applied for met the council's medium priority rating. In doing so, we took into account that the effect of the items would help facilitate C to maintain a healthy relationship with their child. We provided detailed feedback to the council about incorrect interpretation of information, and the decision letters which we considered did not meet the requirements of the Welfare Fund's Guidance. We further considered that the internal notes the council provided did not show a comprehensive assessment of C’s circumstances.