Ms C applied for a community care grant on behalf of Ms A, who had fled domestic abuse and who had been living in a refuge prior to securing her own tenancy. She had applied for a number of items for her new tenancy. Criminal charges were pending against Ms A’s ex-partner and Ms C was providing her with ongoing support.
The council assessed that Ms A was eligible and met the qualifying criteria for a grant. They awarded a number of household items but advised that Ms A’s request for a two seater sofa and curtains did not meet the necessary priority level. Ms C submitted a review request for these items, explaining that a sofa as required to enable ongoing support to be provided to Ms A in her home. It also noted that curtains would provide privacy and a sense of security, which would be beneficial given Ms A’s experience. The council carried out a first tier review but did not change their decision.
Ms C applied for an independent review of the council’s decision. We received the councils file, and spoke with Ms C for further information. We considered that Ms A’s personal circumstances, having fled domestic abuse, increased the priority of curtains and a sofa in line with s5.5- 5.6 of the guidance. As such, we disagreed with the council’s assessment and instructed the council to award these items. We provided feedback to the council regarding their decision making and also the decision letters issued as we considered that neither of these were in line with the SWF guidance.