Case study

  • Date:
    September 2018
  • Category:
    Definition of an emergency


Mr C asked the SPSO to review the council's decision to refuse him a crisis grant. He had applied as his most recent payment of Universal Credit (UC) had been reduced to 10p due to sanctions.

The council refused his application. They considered that his situation was an ongoing one as he had received an award previously for similar circumstances, and his situation was not as a result of an emergency or disaster as his UC has been paid and there was no gap in his income. In addition they assessed the applicant may have been at fault for his crisis as the sanction was due to him missing an appointment. They did not change their decision following his first tier review request.
Mr C applied for an independent review of the council’s decision. We received the council's case file and spoke with the applicant. We did not agree that the applicant's circumstances were not an emergency as he was facing a circumstance of pressing need which required immediate action (s7.26 of SWF guidance) and that how the emergency came about was not relevant.  We assessed he met the eligibility and qualifying criteria for an award and that it was a high priority that an award was made. We considered an award of £90.00 would meet the applicant's needs until his next income was due. We provided feedback to the council about where we had disagreed with their decision making.

Updated: July 17, 2019