Data flow and checks
Following completion of the relevant data sharing agreement. The Scottish Government will provide data on matches through the Homes for Ukraine scheme to a local authority. The local authority will, in turn, use this data to commence the process of initiating an enhanced disclosure check, local authority systems check (safeguarding) and scheduling a physical visit to the property.
Under both Homes for Ukraine and the Scottish Super Sponsor scheme, local authorities will commission an enhanced disclosure check, a local authority systems check (safeguarding) and a property visit. A draft checklist for the property visit is set out in the Quality Assurance Housing Checklist in the supporting documents of this guide.
We expect that all property offered through Homes for Ukraine will need a physical check and that these checks will be prioritised based on local knowledge. We recognise that accommodating displaced people from Ukraine as safely as possible will require a large number of physical visits. Local authorities should prioritise visits in a risk based manner drawing on their officers’ local knowledge and desk checks, with the aim of completing the checks as quickly as is reasonably possible.
There may be instances where displaced people from Ukraine have self-matched with a host in Scotland via the internet or a charity, either via the Homes for Ukraine or Scottish Super Sponsor schemes. This can cause a safeguarding issue if Ukrainian guests go directly to the host’s accommodation on arrival in the country before a property check and disclosure check can take place. If local authorities become aware of a situation like this, all checks should be carried out as a high priority and the matching service should be notified.
The Welcome Hub or host authority does not have the powers to stop arrivals from Ukraine from moving in with their host family when checks have not been undertaken, if those arriving wish to proceed. The arrival(s) from Ukraine should, however, be provided with information relating to any risks identified to help them in their decision. As part of this conversation, the local authority may wish to offer accommodation. This would be the local authority’s decision to make.
If child or adult protection risks have been identified, the local authority may prevent or delay a move until such time as child protection and/or adult protection procedures have been followed, including risk assessment. If there is no alternative local authority accommodation available immediately, temporary accommodation can be sought through the Welcome Hub whilst risk assessments are undertaken and longer term accommodation found, subject to availability.
For property checks, local authority officers can use their powers under section 181 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to determine whether to serve a work notice in relation to the property. Work notices may be issued by the local authority under the 2006 Act where the property does not meet the tolerable standard (see sections 30 and 68 of the 2006 Act). The tolerable standard is as defined at the end of this guidance.
If local authority officers are refused entry to undertake the check of a property put forward under the Scottish Super Sponsor scheme, the prospective host should be offered the opportunity to remake an appointment. The host should be advised in correspondence that if they do not respond to re-arrange a visit, their property offer will be considered withdrawn. Offers will also be withdrawn in cases where council officers are refused entry at subsequently arranged visit. Where checks are carried out as part of the Super Sponsor scheme they will also provide an opportunity to collect information to support the matching process, for example: wheelchair access.
If an officer has any safeguarding or welfare concerns following a visit, or if they are concerned about being refused entry, they should be reported to the relevant departments using the normal channels so that follow up investigation can be undertaken.
Where offered accommodation fails to meet the required standard local authorities can consider using some of the Scottish Government funding provided at their discretion to address the outstanding issue where it is deemed reasonable and proportionate. This could include areas such as sampling of private water sources to ensure it is wholesome (See section on Housing Supply and Quality Assurance of Housing), or purchasing and installation of interlinked fire and heat alarms.
Hosts and property offers should not be put forward for matching under the Super Sponsor scheme, where they do not meet the required standard in any of the property checks, local authority system safeguarding checks, or person checks undertaken.
Local authorities can, if they wish, issue the standard property check rejection letters to hosts in the above scenario. Template letters have been included in the supporting documents.
For those homes or personal checks that fail under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, please refer to UK Government Guidance.
Payments must only be issued to those hosts (or sponsors) where it is confirmed that they have passed the necessary property and safeguarding checks.
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