Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Review

0800 014 7299

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

Ms C applied for a community care grant application. She had applied for a number of household items to help set up her new tenancy following a period in emergency accommodation.

The council awarded Ms C a living room carpet, a set of pots, a frying pan, a bedroom carpet, two-seater sofa, single bed, single mattress, gas cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine. They declined to award a hallway carpet, double bed, double orthopaedic mattress, double headboard, three sets of curtains and rails, clothing, double bedding and a vacuum cleaner. They declined these items as they did not consider that they met the relevant priority level for an award.

Ms C requested an independent review of the council's decision on her community care grant application. We reviewed the council's file, corresponded with Ms C and wrote to her GP and her tenancy sustainment officer. We found that although Ms C suffers from a number of mental and physical health conditions, the majority of the items that the council declined did not meet the necessary priority level for an award. However, we were able to confirm with Ms C's GP that a double bed and orthopaedic mattress was more appropriate to accommodate her health conditions. On that basis, we assessed that these items met the necessary priority level in line with 5.6 to 5.7 of the guidance and instructed the council to award these items. We considered that further enquiries should have been made regarding Ms C’s health conditions, and also provide feedback that the council’s decision letters did not contain sufficient information.

Updated: July 22, 2019