Information

Information on the Ukrainian super-sponsor scheme: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.


Information requested

For information in relation to the "Ukrainian super-sponsor scheme...on the following”:

1. “Are at least SPHERE standards being met, and which institution is responsible for compliance?”

2. “If SPHERE standards are not being applied, what alternative standards and safeguards are in place for refugees?”

3. “Will refugees be allowed off ship and access to the wider community?”

4. “If refugees will have access to the wider community, what resources are in place for safeguarding?”

5. “How long will the ship be used to house refugees, and when should they expect decent shelter?”

6. “Will the ship’s use be discontinued if and when the super-sponsor scheme resumes, or will it be used for refugees from other nations?”

7. “Why has the local community not been consulted about this situation?”

Response

1. “Are at least SPHERE standards being met, and which institution is responsible for compliance?”

The Scottish Government has not explicitly implemented the ‘SPHERE standards’, however the health and welfare of all displaced Ukrainians staying in Scotland remains our absolute priority and safeguarding provisions are central to our super sponsor scheme.

2. “If SPHERE standards are not being applied, what alternative standards and safeguards are in place for refugees?”

4. “If refugees will have access to the wider community, what resources are in place for safeguarding?”

In relation to standards and safeguarding, all crew of the M/S Victoria I have existing child and adult protection training, and a rolling programme focussed on the Scottish context of public protection and safeguarding measures is being introduced. The City of Edinburgh Council’s team have an ongoing and visible presence on-board the ship, alongside support from experienced third sector and other agencies. We have arrangements in place for ongoing monitoring of safeguarding procedures.

Rigorous risk assessment and due diligence have been undertaken in relation to the ship. Prior to chartering the ship, our contractor carried out safety checks, including on the ship’s suitability for sailing to Scotland and taking passengers. The charter agreement between our contractor and the ship owners requires the owners to ensure that the ship complies with flag and class requirements, covering design, construction and maintenance. Our contractor has carried out a full risk assessment of the ship and undertaken rigorous due diligence on health and safety on-board, under the terms of the contract.

Individuals staying on the ship will of course also have unrestricted access to shore-side support services.

3. “Will refugees be allowed off ship and access to the wider community?”
The ship is docked 24/7 to allow for freedom of movement, and guests are able to get on and off at any time.

5. “How long will the ship be used to house refugees, and when should they expect decent shelter?”

6. “Will the ship’s use be discontinued if and when the super-sponsor scheme resumes, or will it be used for refugees from other nations?”

The Scottish Government has chartered the M/S Victoria for six months from July 2022. The ship will be used as temporary accommodation for people until they secure longer-term accommodation. The ship is an important part of the temporary accommodation that we are making available to displaced people fleeing the illegal war in Ukraine.

7. “Why has the local community not been consulted about this situation?”

We have taken forward comprehensive joint assurance with the City of Edinburgh Council and its partners in relation to the M/S Victoria acting as accommodation for displaced people from Ukraine, covering issues like safeguarding, public health and security. Additionally, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, we have engaged with key stakeholders, community groups and third sector partners in relation to the ship.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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