C, who works for a support and advice service, requested an independent review on behalf of their client (A). A had applied for a community care grant for household items and a plumbing repair.
The council awarded the household items but declined the repair as they considered this was an excluded item under Annex A, point six of the guidance (repairs to local authority property). C appealed the decision on the basis that A is a homeowner. At first tier, the council declined the repair under a different exclusion (point 21 of Annex A - substantial repairs to private property).
We reviewed the council's file and spoke with A and C. They provided details of the repair, which was a replacement tap to enable hot water to get to A's bath. A explained that they have a skin condition, which their GP confirmed was best soothed by bathing. We did not consider that replacing a tap represented a substantial improvement to private property, and disagreed with the council that it was an excluded item. We assessed that A qualified under the exceptional pressure criteria due to their mental and physical health conditions, and assessed that the repair met the relevant priority level in place for an award. We instructed the council to award the money for the repair. We provided the council with feedback on their inquisitorial process, as it did not appear that any contact was made with A or C to establish the nature of the repair. We also provided them with feedback on their record-keeping and decision letters.