C requested an independent review of the council's decision about their crisis grant application. C applied for money for food and fuel due to their money going missing from their wheelchair.
The council initially awarded C £66. C requested a first tier review of the decision, stating that this amount was not sufficient as they would have no access to their next Child Tax Credit payment as this was being taken by a direct debit. The council did not change their decision as they stated that the applicant had received three awards and there was no exceptional circumstances therefore a further award could not be made.
We reviewed the council's file and spoke with C for further information. C provided evidence of the bill and the amount being debited from their account which showed that they could not access their Child Tax Credit payment. As they had no other access to financial support, we assessed that the council should have taken into account this information at first tier review and awarded an additional amount. As such we changed the council’s decision on the basis that they incorrectly interpreted the information available to them. We also identified that the council’s records were not accurate and that the applicant had only received two previous awards so no assessment of exceptional circumstances was required. Additionally, we provided feedback to the council about their written communications; that the decision timescales were not met; that they had failed to issue an original decision letter; about the calculation of the award and about inaccurate record-keeping.