Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Review

0800 014 7299

Ms C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision.

  • Date:
    April 2020
  • Subject:
    Meeting the need
  • Outcome:
    Upheld

Ms C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision. She had applied for a community care grant as her fridge freezer had broken down and she had no place to store fresh food. Ms C has children living in the home, all of whom have additional needs. She also explained in her application that she has mental ill health and ADHD.

The council assessed that the application met the conditions for an award and awarded a fridge freezer. However, Ms C said that the item that was awarded was too small for her needs and requested a first tier review of the decision. The council did not change their original decision, stating that a standard item had been awarded.

We reviewed the council’s case file and spoke with Ms C for further information. She advised us that the item awarded was around 4 ft and would be more suited to a caravan or for a single elderly person rather than a family of four. She said that such a small appliance was not sufficient for her family as she needs to store medication, and it is more difficult for her to shop regularly due to her children's conditions. We also asked the council for the dimensions of the fridge freezer and were advised that it was likely to have a height of 122cm. We reviewed alternative fridge freezers and determined that this was smaller than most fridge freezers which tended to have a height of 150-180cm. We therefore disagreed with the council’s assessment that this item should have been awarded as it was too small to meet the needs of the family. As such, we changed the council’s decision and instructed them to award a fridge freezer that was more typical to standard sized appliances and that had a 160 litre capacity within the fridge compartment. We also provided the council with feedback about their decision letters.

Updated: April 22, 2020