Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Review

0800 014 7299

Date: 
March, 2019
Subject: 
Common medical conditions with respect to priority
Outcome: 
Upheld

Mr C, a housing officer, applied for a community care grant on behalf of his client, Ms A. Ms A stated that she required a number of household items as she had secured her own tenancy. Mr C explained that Ms A had been living in the family home but it was overcrowded and had no privacy. She experienced difficulties with her family and had disagreements which had, on occasion, turned violent. Mr C advised Ms A is on a low income and had mental and physical health issues.

The council initially assessed that Ms A was did not qualify for a grant due to being on the housing list for a number of years and considered she should have been budgeting for the items required. Mr C submitted a first tier review request providing further details about Ms A’s health and requirement for the items requested. The council considered this information but did not change their decision as they assessed that she did not qualify for a grant.

Mr C, requested an independent review of the council's decision. We reviewed the council's file and contacted Ms A she provided us with specific information about the numerous health issues she has and the need for her move. We changed the council's decision as assessed Ms A met the qualifying criteria of facing exceptional pressure due to the degree of family pressure and health difficulties. We did not award all the items requested but were able to award some of the household items as considered these met the necessary high priority. These included items such as a washing machine and flooring for areas of the home which would not normally meet high priority, although, in her circumstances, we assessed that they were higher priority due to her suffering from OCD, an over-active bladder and asthma. We provided feedback to the council as did not assess the application was handled in line with SWF guidance.

Updated: July 22, 2019