C, a support worker, asked SPSO to review the council's decision about their client's (A) community care grant application. C, a support worker, asked SPSO to review the council's decision about their client's (A) community care grant application. A had applied for money towards clothing following their liberation from prison after a long sentence.
The council refused the application on the basis that they considered A's need for clothing was an ongoing feature of expenditure and therefore was excluded from the fund.
We received the council's file and gathered additional information from C about A. We disagreed with the council's assessment as we did not consider it reasonable that A should have been expected to purchase clothing on an ongoing, as-needed, basis while in prison for very many years. We changed the council's decision as we assessed that A's application met the eligibility and qualifying criteria for an award, and that the application met high priority. We instructed the council to make an award of £120.00 and provided feedback to the council about the communication with A, which we did not consider met the requirements of the welfare funds guidance.