Parents in East Dunbartonshire having problems accessing school clothing grants online from council

As summer holidays draw to a close, parents in East Dunbartonshire have struggled to access school clothing grants.

Edinburgh UK Mar 15 2016; Hillwood Primary School to set up a pop up uniform shop to tackle child poverty with pupils donating old school uniforms for other kids. Pictured P1 Lucie Bain help promote the pop up shop.credit steven scott taylor / J P License

Pupils are due to return to school on August 12 but technical issues with East Dunbartonshire Council’s website have impacted parents’ ability to obtain funds to purchase uniforms.

Rebecca Kennedy, a single mum of five, complained: “EDC only just released their forms last Monday. I phoned and they said that they could not give me a time scale for when it will be paid.

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“It’s unacceptable the way they have went about the clothing grants. I rely on these grants like a lot of parents. Shops are already selling out of uniforms. Me as a parent and the kids have been through enough anxiety and stress throughout lockdown, never mind EDC being so unorganised.”

 Council depute chief executive Ann Davie said:  “During the Covid-19 lockdown we have made significant improvements to our online systems to simplify the approach for applicants to both free school meals and school clothing grants.

“Parents/carers can now apply for both free school meals and school clothing grants on one online form for all eligible children in their household and have the grants paid directly in to bank accounts, removing the need to issue cheques once applications have been verified.

“Our new, streamlined approach – which was launched on 13 July – will ensure that the grant is immediately accessible to those awarded, once the verification process is complete.

“In our new, streamlined process, parents can now add all entitled children on to one application form whatever stage of early years or school they are at.

“Unfortunately, we have had a technical problem with our webpage which meant the service has had to be taken offline temporarily until we resolve the underlying issue. We are currently working with our third party support partner to fix the problem and we hope to have the service restored later today (Wednesday).

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused but once the service is restored we will process applications as quickly as possible to allow parents and carers to make their purchases in time for the new school term.

“We are committed to supporting all those eligible to these important awards. And to ensuring that they receive the clothing grants as quickly and efficiently as possible.”