Case study

  • Date:
    May 2023
  • Category:
    When applicants incur detriment sourcing items themselves


C, a representative for the applicant (A), asked for an independent review of the council's decision on their application for a community care grant. A was moving tenancies, after being in a private tenancy for a significant period of time. As they were moving from a furnished to an unfurnished property, they needed a number of items to set up their tenancy.

The council took nearly three months to issue their decision (the target processing time is 15 working days). During this period A purchased a number of the items they had applied for so that they could move home. They said that this was because they were facing pressure to move, and being charged rent for both properties. The council assessed that the application met the eligibility and qualifying conditions and awarded the items they deemed met the necessary priority level. C requested a first tier review of the decision asking for a cash award to be made. The council declined to make a cash award.

We received the council's file and spoke with C who informed us of A's health issues. They said that A felt they had been left with no option but to purchase the items due to issues with the council’s housing team. C made us aware that a complaint had been raised regarding the pressure A experienced to move, and delays with the handling of the application. We made a partial cash award for hall and bedroom carpets as we assessed that A should have been awarded these prior to purchasing the items, had the council processed the application in time. We did not award the remaining items as we assessed that some did not meet the necessary priority level; and the remainder had not been applied for. We provided feedback to the council around the delays, their priority assessments, and for failing to consider a cash award due as reimbursement under the circumstances.

C subsequently asked for a reconsideration of the decision. They highlighted that one item that was requested initially (a wardrobe) was not assessed by the council or the case reviewer. While it had not been included on the drop down menu, this item had been mentioned in the application form. We deemed that this item should have been awarded. Based on new information, we also assessed that A should have been reimbursed for additional costs they had paid towards a living room carpet, underlay and fitting and interest costs that had accrued due to the delays processing their application. We instructed the council to award an additional £996.50.

Updated: May 23, 2023