If you are unhappy with the council’s decision, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. Before contacting the SPSO you will have already applied to the Scottish Welfare Fund and received your First Tier Review decision letter. The SPSO is not part of the council.
- You can ask for an independent review only after the council has given you their decision on their review. The council will send you a First Review decision letter that tells you about contacting the SPSO.
- You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of the first tier review decision. In some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after this. You should contact the SPSO for advice
- You can ask the SPSO for an independent review over the phone or in writing. If you prefer, they will send you a form in the post, or you can print it off their website or fill it in online.
- You will need to tell the SPSO that you have received the council’s first tier review decision. If someone is asking for an independent review on your behalf, you will need to tell the SPSO that you are happy for this to happen.
The SPSO will consider whether the council made a reasonable and fair decision. They will do this by checking that the council:
- followed Scottish Government guidance regulations
- considered information that was accurate relevant and complete
- made appropriate enquiries to get that evidence
- made their decision fairly, based on relevant evidence and your own individual circumstances, and
- in making their decision, treated you with dignity and respect
After you have asked for an independent review, the SPSO will start work straight away. The SPSO will ask you and the council for the information they need. Getting this information can take time. This means the SPSO may need several days from the date you apply to give you their decision on a review of a Crisis Grant and several weeks from the date you apply to give you their decision on a review of a Community Care Grant.
They will aim to give you their decision within the following times:
- For Crisis Grants, one working day from when they get all the information they need to make a decision
- For Community Care Grants, 21 working days from when they get all the information they need to make a decision
The SPSO can decide to:
- to change part or all of the council’s decision
- to tell the council to make a new decision, or
- not to change the council’s decision in any way
Your award won’t reduce or take away any award the council’s Scottish Welfare Fund team has given you.
If you wish to apply for an independent review of your Scottish Welfare Fund decision, please use the online application form (link is external) or phone them on 0800 014 7299.
To make things quicker and easier for you, please have a copy of your First Tier Review decision letter to hand before contacting the SPSO.
If you have not applied for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant or have not received a First Tier Review letter from us, please call 0300 555 0265.
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