Ukraine Scheme Update 6 Apr 22
Below is a message received from Cllr David Coole
Today, I have received further clarification on some of the operational arrangements and the work that is taking place, to support the Ukrainian refugee visa schemes. Below is an edited version of what I have received.
Hampshire County Council (HCC) are taking the lead role in the operational delivery of the scheme as they have been given this responsibility by government. The following has now been agreed with HCC:
·HCC will undertake all DBS checks of sponsors and adults in sponsor households.
·Initial visits will be undertaken by safeguarding trained Children’s Services Officers accompanied by the Fire & Rescue Service. These visits can be undertaken after refugees arrive with their sponsors, and will include the following:
o Making the initial payment of £200 in cash to the refugee household.
o Undertaking a ‘safe and well’ safeguarding check.
o Reviewing the fire safety of the accommodation arrangements.
o Completing an accommodation check list to identify any obvious health and safety and suitability issues that may be presented by the accommodation.
Where the accommodation check list identifies particular concerns associated with housing standards, these will be escalated to the borough council housing department. We will then arrange to inspect the accommodation.
· Work is ongoing at county level to determine processes to address what happens when a sponsorship arrangement is identified as inappropriate,
It is not yet clear what level of funding might be made available to TVBC to resource its work in supporting the scheme locally. The £10.5K per refugee government funding will be paid to HCC. It is expected, that as HCC are undertaking the initial visits, they will also be making the £350 per month payment to sponsors where the checks have satisfied HCC that the sponsorship arrangements are suitable and appropriate.
Key messages from the FAQs about phase 1 of the “”Homes for Ukraine Scheme”, include:
· Up to date information is available on Gov.UK. Anyone considering becoming a sponsor, or who has registered as a sponsor, or who wants any general information about the schemes, should look here for the most up to date information and guidance.
· TVBC has no role in the matching process for sponsors and refugees. There are charities supporting sponsors and refugees to match with each other, but the local authority plays no part in that process.
· HCC are undertaking the DBS, safeguarding and accommodation checks with the Fire & Rescue Service. Due to the volume of sponsors and associated checks required, it is likely that checks will be undertaken after refugees have arrived.
· The local authority role in this scheme, and the checks local government has been asked to undertake, do not impact the visa application process. No visa will be delayed due to time taken with the checks being conducted and the local authority cannot prevent, delay or grant visa applications.
· It is now clear the £350 payments to sponsors do not affect any welfare entitlements. However, tenants of private landlords or tenants of housing associations, will want to check with their landlord if they are seeking to sponsor refugees. Their tenancy agreements may require them to seek permission before permitting anyone to lodge with them.
· Failed checks will most likely result in local authority housing support.
· Offers of voluntary support (e.g. translation and other offers that may be coming forward) are being coordinated by Unity.
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