Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics: Annual Update: 2021-22

The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises Community Care Grants – which help people to live independently – and Crisis Grants, which provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency.

This publication provides information on the SWF for 2021/22, and since 2013 when the scheme began.

Summary of main points

From when the Scottish Welfare Fund scheme began on 1 April 2013 until 31 March 2022, 470,170 individual households have received awards totalling £341.4 million. A third of households receiving an award were families with children, while just over half were single person households with no children.

In 2021/22, local authorities received 87,900 applications for Community Care Grants (4% more than 2020-21) and made 48,780 awards (1% more than 2020-21) – an acceptance rate of 55% (one percentage point lower than 2020-21). Expenditure on Community Care Grant awards totalled £33.7 million, which is 15% more than 2020-21. The average award was £692.

At the same time, local authorities received 268,265 applications for Crisis Grants (1% fewer than 2021-22) and made 176,880 awards (6% fewer than 2020-21 - an acceptance rate of 66% (three percentage points lower than 2020-21). Expenditure on Crisis Grant awards totalled £20.4 million, 2% more than 2020-21. The average award was £115.

In 2021-22, 30% of Community Care Grant applications were repeat applications, two percentage points higher than 2020-21, and 80% of Crisis Grant applications were repeats, 10 percentage points higher than 2020-21. This is the highest proportion of Crisis grant repeat applications in any year since the start of the Scottish Welfare Fund.

In 2021-22, 86% of Community Care Grant applications and 93% of Crisis Grant applications were processed within the target time limits.

Local authorities were allocated £35.5 million for Scottish Welfare Fund awards in 2021-22. There was also an estimated underspend of £11.4 million carried forward from 2020-21. Of the estimated total £47.0 million available for awards this year, £54.1 million (115%) was spent by 31 March 2022. At this time last year, less had been spent (£49.5 million), and a much smaller proportion of the budget had been spent (83%) because the available budget was higher (£59.5 million).

Since April 2013, there have been 28,330 Tier 1 reviews for Community Care Grants, and 35,950 for Crisis Grants. Just under half of decisions have been revised at this stage for both Community Care Grants (47%) and Crisis Grants (44%).

In our previous publications, we highlighted data quality issues with the official statistics, and discrepancies between the official statistics and management information. There are still data quality issues in the official statistics for certain local authorities (described in the data quality section), exacerbated this year by pressures likely related to COVID-19 surges. Overall, the monthly management information and quarterly data extracts have similar figures for Community Care Grant applications (-6% in 2021-22) and expenditure (+4%) but there is a larger discrepancy in awards (-14%). At Scotland level, the monthly management information has larger figures for Crisis Grant awards (+6%) and expenditure (+9%) and there is almost no discrepancy in applications (+0%). Management information to May 2022 has been provided in Tables 72 and 73 for comparison to the official statistics. However, the official statistics provide much more detailed information and breakdowns that are not available from the monthly management information and remain the recommended primary source for analysis and commentary.

We have provided monthly management information of Self-Isolation Support Grant applications, awards and expenditure broken down by local authority in Table 74. However, comparisons should not be made between the numbers of applications received by local authorities, particularly due to variations in the administrative systems used to apply for the grant.



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