Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Section 12 Payments

How we are able to assist people in need

What is Section 12 (S12)?

The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 makes it a duty for Local Authorities to promote welfare in their area and this underpins most services provided by the Adult Services Teams.

This duty includes providing help to “a person in need requiring assistance in kind, or, in exceptional circumstances, cash”.

This duty allows the Adult Services Teams to provide help to people who find themselves without access to resources that are essential for day to day life until they can manage again by other means.

Application is made through the Adult Services Teams duty worker based at School Place. Telephone: 01856873535.

Who can apply for help under S12?

To be eligible for consideration for S12, the applicant must be aged 16 years or older and have a Community Care need, for example be affected by disability; be vulnerable because of poor mental or physical health or be homeless.

Applicants must satisfy the Adult Social Work Team that they have no other source of assistance and a check will be made with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as to whether support can be obtained via a Crisis Loan. Applicants should have tried to get support from family or friends.

What can S12 be provided for?

S12 help can only be provided for items such as food, fuel, essential sanitary supplies and essential travel, such as a bus fare to return home or in exceptional cases, fares to return to a visitor’s original place of residence away from Orkney.

How is assistance given via S12?

Applicants who meet the criteria for a payment will be offered a loan and will need to sign an agreement to repay the sum over a period of time or as a one-off repayment.

Very occasionally and in particular circumstances, assistance will be given as a grant. Generally, cash payments will not be made. Assistance will be offered by a council order or shopping or fuel cards purchased by a support worker.

What if S12 help cannot be offered?

If the applicant has received recent DWP benefits or can obtain a crisis loan, S12 will not be paid as assistance of this sort is a last resort for those who have no other source of support to fund essential daily living supplies such as food and fuel.

The Adult Services Teams are not able to assist all applicants and may have to decline applicants who do not meet the criteria for this sort of help or who have had S12 loans in the past and have not repaid them.

People who find themselves in difficulties because they struggle to budget can be referred to the Citizens Advice Bureau or may elect to be referred to the Adult Services Teams for an assessment of their needs related to disability to access support services to help them manage better.