Review of the Scottish Welfare Fund Interim Scheme

The review explores how well the interim arrangements of the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) have worked, from the perspectives of applicants to the SWF and the third sector organisations supporting them. It also provides recommendations for the remainder of the interim period and for the permanent arrangements.

10 Overall Satisfaction

Community Care Grant applicants

10.1 Around two-thirds of Community Care Grant applicants expressed an overall satisfaction with the scheme. 'Straightforward' and 'helpful' were the two most commonly used descriptors.

10.2 The majority of Community Care Grant respondents stated that they would be happy to apply for the scheme again if they fell into difficulties. However, many emphasised that they are hoping not to be in a position where they need to apply again:

I'm hoping to get myself back on track and get out working. (Community Care Grant)

10.3 Reasons for feeling dissatisfied with the scheme included: prolonged waiting times for the decision; being rejected items that were genuinely acutely needed; and being treated by SWF staff with suspicion 'like someone who is at it [the welfare system]'.

Crisis Grant applicants

10.4 The majority of Crisis Grant applicants were satisfied with the scheme. Respondents frequently spoke of the scheme providing 'quick' and 'good' help. SWF staff's professionalism has also been praised by some, including that "they don't make you feel embarrassed".

10.5 Dissatisfied applicants pointed at the two-day waiting period and grants being not substantial enough to properly meet the need:

But to me, personally, you don't get a lot. It doesn't really keep you going. It's still hard to keep going. (Crisis Grant)

Third sector support organisations' view

10.6 While respondents from support organisations tended to focus on what in their opinion needed to be improved in the scheme (and one organisation held a strongly negative view of the SWF), a few expressed an unprompted opinion that the interim scheme is generally working well. Interviews with the third sector and applicants suggested that the quality of delivery varies between local authorities (in terms of processing times, staff skills, approach to discretion and signposting/joint working). A policy manager from one of the largest support organisation in Scotland observed that in some local authorities its front-line workers reported problems with the SWF, while in others they were "surprised how well the new scheme is working".


10.7 The majority of interviewed applicants expressed overall satisfaction with the operation of the interim scheme. Third sector support organisations tended to focus on areas for improvement. There appeared to be a link between their overall satisfaction with the scheme and the perceived quality of delivery in their particular local authorities.


Email: Franca MacLeod

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