Ms C applied for a community care grant for a number of baby items. She applied as she was pregnant with her third child and, as a result, was not entitled to a sure start maternity grant. Her partner left her after he found out that she was pregnant.
The council originally declined the application as they did not consider that the application met the qualifying criteria. However, at the first review, they decided that she was part of a family facing exceptional pressure and changed their decision. They awarded the following items which they considered to meet their current priority level (medium): a cot with mattress and bedding, a single pram/buggy, and a bottle steriliser with four bottles. They did not award the items they assessed to be low priority including a car seat, baby bath, changing mat, high chair, stair gates, further baby bottles and an oil filled heater.
Ms C asked us for an Independent Review of the council's decision. We considered the particular facts and circumstances of the application. This included information provided by Ms C's representative, and details of the decision making process provided by the council. We concluded that the council did not fully take into account her circumstances when assessing the priority of the items. In particular, Miss C felt anxious due to prior social work involvement and was, herself, a care experienced young person for whom the council have corporate parenting responsibilities. We took these factors into consideration when determining that the following items met medium priority: a car seat, baby bath and changing mat. We also established that the buggy that had been awarded was only suitable from age six months onwards and instructed the council to swap this for a more appropriate model.