Social work, housing records and property checks
In addition to the enhanced disclosure, a check should be carried out on social work and housing records for information pertaining to the prospective host and all usual household occupants including where it is a self-contained property. The local authority should also undertake a visit to the proposed address.
A property check will be undertaken by the local authority. It is expected that all property offered would need a physical check. A Quality Assurance Housing Checklist containing specification and criteria for properties deemed suitable for accommodating arrivals from Ukraine for the property inspection has been developed to support local areas in their decision making around approving accommodation.
If local authority officers are refused entry to undertake the check of a property, the hosting offer will be considered withdrawn.
Local authority assessment
If, as a result of these checks, sponsors or adults within the sponsoring household do not meet the suitability requirements to be an approved sponsor, they will be notified of this by the local authority. The displaced person (family/child) should not travel to the address of the unsuitable sponsor and will be offered the option to withdraw their visa application or be supported in a re-match, subject to the displaced person having met the other visa requirements. Only approved sponsors will be matched with a guest and then eligible for the thank you payment.
If a prospective host is deemed unsuitable and is not approved following the safeguarding checks, they will be able to re-apply to sponsor a new guest. It is probable that they would not be permitted to become a sponsor (because subsequent safeguarding checks would identify the same information). Exceptions to this may be, the sponsor passes all checks except for an accommodation check and the accommodation could theoretically be suitable for another guest (e.g. the accommodation is too small for four guests but could host one). In these instances, a local authority might consider that sponsor as a potential sponsor for other guests, including those who may require a new sponsor through domestic re-matching.
In accordance with existing practice, resettlement teams are encouraged to liaise with social work colleagues to support the safe arrival and integration of displaced people.
Checks for hosts who have lived overseas
If someone has recently lived abroad local authorities may seek additional information on their suitability to become a host. These checks could include:
- a criminal record check. The Home Office publishes information on how to obtain a criminal record check for someone from overseas which can be found online here: Countries Q to Z: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- a reference from an employer confirming that they are not aware of any reason why a host may be unsuitable
- a letter of Professional Standing from a professional regulating authority which the host belongs to, if appropriate
For Ukrainian nationals who are seeking to become hosts local authorities may also choose to consider a Certificate of Conviction or No Conviction from the consular section of the Ukrainian Embassy in London. See Countries Q to Z: applying for a criminal records check for someone from overseas - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Raising check concerns
If, after local authority and disclosure checks are carried out, a concern is raised indicating that a host and/or accommodation would not be suitable, this should be raised via the JIRA system. The JIRA team will then ensure the relevant information is passed to Border Force so any arrivals not yet in the UK can be directed to a Welcome Hubs, where a rematch can be pursued.
Local authorities are expected to make at least one in-person visit once the guest(s) has arrived. This welfare check enables the local authority to see whether there are any welfare concerns or formal assessments that should be undertaken. Guidance for local authorities for ata flow and checks is available.
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