This initial guidance on the Homes for Ukraine scheme outlines the role of councils across England in supporting the scheme.
Applies to England
Overview and purpose
Councils have a critical role to play in the success of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and are uniquely placed to support local communities to offer people from Ukraine the warmest possible welcome to the UK.
This document contains guidance to councils and does not replace or contradict their statutory duties or responsibilities.
This guidance on the Homes for Ukraine scheme outlines the role of councils across England in supporting the scheme. It does not apply to councils in Northern Ireland. Scotland and Wales have published their own guidance for councils.
This guidance does not cover displaced persons already in the UK, persons transferring from visitor visas, nor individuals coming in via the Ukraine Family Scheme. This guidance does not cover children under 18 leaving Ukraine who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian.
This guidance does not cover children under 18 leaving Ukraine who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian. Guidance covering this cohort is available on GOV.UK via the following links: Guidance for Councils (Children and minors applying without parents), Guidance for Sponsors (Children and minors applying without parents) and Guidance for Parents and Legal Guardians (Children and minors applying without parents).
This guidance applies to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme only.
“Sponsor” or “sponsors” refers to an individual, group or organisation who has been approved to accommodate an individual or household from Ukraine under the “Homes for Ukraine” sponsorship scheme.
“Guest” or “guests” refers to an individual or household previously resident in Ukraine, prior to 1 January 2022, who have secured a visa under the “Homes for Ukraine” scheme, which enables them to be housed by a sponsor.
Background and eligibility
The Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched on 14 March 2022 by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
This scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 and also to their immediate family members (for example spouse/partner and children under 18) who may be of other nationalities, to be sponsored to come to the UK. Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.
Children who are currently outside of the UK can use the scheme to reunite with their parent or legal guardian who is currently living in the UK, if they are the child’s sponsor.
This guidance does not cover children under 18 who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian. On 28 July, we updated our specific Guidance for Councils (Children and minors applying without parents), Guidance for Sponsors (Children and minors applying without parents) and Guidance for Parents and Legal Guardians (Children and minors applying without parents), which relates to existing and new applications from children who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian, to stay with a known sponsor in the UK (where sponsor eligibility and parental or legal guardian consent requirements have been met).
The scheme allows individuals to sponsor named people from Ukraine. In Scotland and Wales people fleeing Ukraine can also enter through the Devolved Government Sponsorship route. New applications to both the Scottish Government Welsh Government as a sponsor are paused at present but all existing applications to both schemes are continuing to be processed and existing visa holders continue to travel to Wales and be supported.
The number of people who can access this scheme is uncapped and is dependent on the capacity of the sponsors who come forward.
Guests will be able to live and work in the UK for up to 3 years and access benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support. Those arriving need to meet standard security checks prior to being issued with a visa. Sponsors and all adults in sponsors’ households will also be subject to initial Police National Computer (PNC), criminal records and Warnings Index checks by the Home Office. Guests arriving from Ireland should only travel to the UK once they have a visa.
Pre and Post arrival checks
Those arriving need to meet standard security checks prior to being issued with a visa. Sponsors will also undergo eligibility and suitability checks prior to any visa being issued and all adults in sponsors’ households will also be subject to initial criminal records checks by the Home Office.
Prior to arrival in the UK, the guest and sponsor are required to complete the online application form which also covers the biometric residence permit (BRP) and gives authorisation for personal data to be shared to help support the sponsor arrangement. To enable visa and security checks to be completed, sponsors will also need to provide evidence of their identity (see details in the application and process section below).
Guests who hold a valid Ukraine international passport or expired passport with a formal extension stamp will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC). Guests without a passport will be required to book and attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre to provide biometric information.
Once a visa application has been accepted and security checks completed, guests will be issued an official permission letter from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) confirming they can travel to the UK. Official permission letters will be issued to those travelling under the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme and will be issued electronically to the correspondence email listed in the application form. Individuals who have attended an appointment at a VAC will be issued with a vignette confirming permission to travel which will be attached to existing travel documents.
The permission to travel letter is not restricted to single entry. However, if a guest chooses to leave the UK before providing their biometrics and receiving a BRP, they will be required to present their permission to travel letter again and receive a new Leave to Remain Outside the Rules (LOTR) stamp on arrival. It is recommended that guests obtain a BRP before leaving the UK.
Upon arrival to the UK guests will be required to show their permission letter or Passport with vignette to Border Force officers. For those with a permission to travel letter, Border Force will endorse their passport with a six-month entry stamp.
Councils will be required to undertake accommodation and DBS criminal record checks for all adults (16 and over) in the sponsor household. The level of check is determined by the age and needs of the guests. Further information on Accommodation and DBS checks can be found in the ‘role of Councils’ section below.
Individual members of the public can sponsor a guest from Ukraine who meets the eligibility criteria for this scheme. Further details are set out below.
On Monday 14 March, the Homes for Ukraine page opened for potential sponsors (individuals and organisations) to record their interest in sponsoring a guest.
Individuals sponsoring named guests
On Friday 18 March, a Home Office form opened for visa applications. Sponsors at this stage must be specific individuals.
Either a guest or a sponsor will be able to complete a single application for a visa. The form will ask the person completing it to name both parties.
Sponsors and guests will find each other and match themselves externally. There is no single route to matching, and both the sponsor and guest could use a number of channels to find a match. They could for example already have a relationship in place with a friend in the UK/Ukraine, they could be friends of friends, or could find a sponsor or guest through a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), charity, or other channel.
The process is as follows:
1. Sponsor and guest find each other and agree to a match.
2. Either the sponsor or the guest fills out the single visa application form online using both parties’ details.
3. Passport numbers (alongside completion of eligibility questions and other personal details) for both guests and sponsors will be required to complete the application online. The guest will also need to upload a scan of their passport. If the guest does not possess a passport, they will be required to travel to a visa application centre to process their biometrics. Security checks on both the sponsor and guest are commissioned from the name data declared in the application form. There is no requirement to upload a copy of identity documents for any other member of the sponsor household.
4. After the application is submitted, security checks are done on both the sponsor, all other adults in the sponsor’s household, and the guest.
5. Once both sponsor and guest have passed the checks, the Home Office will issue the guest with a permit to travel.
6. The guest can then travel to the UK and coordinate their arrival with the sponsor.
7. Specific councils will provide welcome arrangements for guests, with additional immediate support provided to guests where it is required (see initial reception role of councils below).
A lead sponsor will be needed for each household. For example, where a couple has applied to sponsor, one of them should be designated as “lead sponsor”.
We have set out the expectation on safeguarding above but are undertaking further work on the safeguarding process around individual sponsors and the adults in their households and this will be shared in the next version of the guidance. More detail is given in the section on the role of councils below.
Role of sponsors
The guidance below for councils sets out what is needed from councils to ensure the scheme can work effectively for both sponsors and the people they are trying to help. The guidance in this section aims to ensure appropriate and important checks to ensure safety and safeguarding as well as recognise that sponsors are not doing this in a professional capacity.
Sponsors are required to:
- Meet the eligibility and suitability requirements to be approved as a sponsor.
- Provide suitable accommodation for a minimum of 6 months. Accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards ensuring the property is safe for guests and in a suitable condition, with considerations set out in the scheme FAQs.
- Check their mortgage lenders website for further guidance.
- Notify their insurers that they will be hosting guests from Ukraine, prior to their arrival.
- Homeowners in the UK who want to temporarily house people from Ukraine who have been displaced from the conflict in Ukraine as non-paying guests with them in their primary residence do not need to inform their insurer and their cover will remain the same. Sponsors should be aware of any existing terms that might apply to non-paying guests within their insurance policy and contact their insurer if they wish to discuss their cover or other changes in circumstances. Please refer to the Association of British Insurers’ statement for more details. Stay in regular contact with their guests prior to their arrival to help organise and coordinate their arrival in the UK, meet them on arrival, and provide their guests with instructions on how to reach their accommodation if they are unable to meet them. Note: councils will still be required to provide general welcome point arrangements and immediate support on arrival if guests require it (see section below).
- Support and help guests to adapt to life in the UK, initially checking if they have enough food and supplies such as toiletries, along with checking if they have access to a mobile phone and internet to stay in touch with family members.
- Sponsors should help direct their guests to public services for example, registering with a GP or NHS dentist.
The role of the sponsor is very rewarding, but also challenging. Sponsors should be aware that guests will have experienced trauma and have individual needs, experiences, and worries. Local authorities may want to discuss with sponsors:
- Being sensitive to their guests needs
- Risks of exploitation and abuse
- Sources of support
Sponsors are required to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements to be approved as a sponsor.
Role of councils
Councils have a number of important functions in supporting the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Councils will be expected to offer the categories of support listed below. Further details on each of these will be issued shortly:
Initial welcome for Ukrainian arrivals at ports of entry
Relevant councils who have primary ports of entry have been asked to establish welcome point arrangements to provide an initial welcome to the UK and any immediate support required. Ports of entry have been prioritised based on frequency of rail and flight routes and anticipated number of arrivals from neighbouring countries to Ukraine. Councils should work with Strategic Migration Partnerships and the voluntary sector, and (if a multi-agency response is required) they may call on the coordination support of Local Resilience Forums.
Tiered funding has been provided to councils with points of entry to establish welcome arrangements for Ukrainian arrivals. Major ports where we expect regular arrivals from early morning to late at night and large numbers of flights on which people from Ukraine could arrive are outlined in the table below.
|Major Ports of Entry||Council|
|Stansted Airport||Essex County Council|
|Luton Airport||Luton Borough Council|
|Heathrow Airport||LB Hillingdon|
|St Pancras International Rail||LB Camden|
|Manchester Airport||Manchester City Council|
|Birmingham Airport||Solihull Council|
|Gatwick Airport||West Sussex Council|
|Glasgow Airport||Renfrewshire Council|
|Edinburgh Airport||Edinburgh City Council|
Ports of entry in areas where lower numbers of arrivals are expected are putting in place arrangements to stand up welcome points based on when arrivals are expected with on call arrangements and partners on standby outside of these hours.
- East Midlands
- Leeds Bradford
- Doncaster (Robin Hood)
- Teesside International
- London City
- Belfast International
- Belfast City
- Birkenhead Ferry Port
- Portsmouth International Port
- Dover Port and Folkestone
- Plymouth Port
- Port of Newhaven
- Port of Tyne
- Port of Poole
- Harwich International Port
- Port of Hull
- Holyhead Port
- Fishguard Port
- Pembroke Dock
Rail and coach
- London Victoria Rail and Coach station
- Wrexham General Station
- Cardiff Central Station
- Glasgow Central Rail station
- Edinburgh Waverley Rail station
These welcome arrangements should include basic meet and greet arrangements as well as the ability to provide immediate humanitarian assistance. There will be some local variation in response to match local needs and requirements.
Councils at major ports should consider the following capabilities as a core service offer when establishing a welcome point:
- Welcome/rest point, with toilet facilities, telephone, telephone charging facilities and translation capability.
- Provision of any necessary immediate humanitarian assistance including food, drink, (over the counter) medical supplies and other sundries.
- Link with local travel operators for general provision of advice on onward travel.
- Triage point if matching arrangements fall down or if not met by a host and potential provision of overnight hotel accommodation; and
- Signposting the relevant online welcome guide covering access to public services and advice.
Councils should also consider the provision of social care staff to respond to any safeguarding concerns that may be flagged by Border Force.
Travel from outside and within the UK
Stena Line travel are offering free transport onboard their ferries to people fleeing from Ukraine seeking shelter in another country. They are also offering free transport to registered charity and humanitarian organisations. As long as safety and capacity allow, the passengers will be booked on the first available sailing and all passengers need to bring a valid passport.
Eurostar is offering free travel on its network. Passengers with a valid visa to enter the UK and a Ukrainian passport can receive the free ticket by speaking to any Eurostar team member at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe, or Amsterdam Central.
The Department for Transport have announced their free onward travel for Ukrainian arrivals. They are working closely with the Rail Delivery Group (the group that brings together all passenger and freight rail companies in the UK) to roll out the offer of a free single one-way journey from a port of entry to a final destination for incoming refugees. Train Operating Companies will brief frontline staff to grant free access to the network to those holding a Ukrainian passport, with accompanying boarding pass dated within the last 48 hours
From Sunday 20 March, guests arriving in the country are eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail, and coach. This will be free of charge to anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales.
To make use of this scheme, guests will need to show their Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing their arrival into the UK. The offer is valid across all train operators in England, Scotland and Wales, and guests will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete their journey.
Within Wales, guests can travel on bus or rail services for free for the first six months after their arrival. They will need to show transport staff their passport or UK government permission to travel letter.
Guests will also be able to travel for free across London using TfL’s London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), bus and tram services so they can reach their destination as quickly as possible.
Further information is available on the National Rail website.
Role of the Voluntary and Community Sector
The government has published a list of Recognised Providers. These are voluntary and community sector organisations running schemes that provide support for people on the scheme and help to match people coming from Ukraine with sponsors in the UK.
Recognised Providers have been encouraged to establish a communication channel to the relevant Local Authorities where sponsors are based to ensure there is a link to the support councils are providing.
In England, unitary and county councils will receive the necessary data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, about sponsors/guests who have applied for visas (including the accommodation address). The data is stored in the Foundry case management system (CMS) and councils can apply for access by completing an application form. District and county council users can access the CMS and see matched data for their respective areas. District councils will need to access foundry system data in order to commence necessary checks on sponsors.
Data will also be passed to the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is exploring how to provide councils with live data on expected arrivals and will work with councils directly on this. Please note that it will be a condition of the funding provided to councils that data is uploaded accurately and frequently to the Foundry system. For further detail please see the section below titled ‘Homes for Ukraine funding - grant conditions’.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Home Office are data controllers for the Homes for Ukraine visa sponsorship scheme. Further information can be found in this Privacy Notice.
Handling sponsor withdrawals
Where a sponsor wishes to withdraw their sponsorship, they are advised to contact their council without delay. Sponsors are also advised to inform their guest that they are no longer able to sponsor them under Homes for Ukraine.
When a sponsor notifies you that they wish to withdraw their sponsorship ahead of the applicant being issued with a visa or where they are yet to travel to the UK, you should confirm with the sponsor that they have informed the applicant, and request contact details for the applicant. In cases where a sponsor is sponsoring multiple applications, you should confirm whether the sponsor wishes to withdraw from all or only certain applications. Following this, you should raise report these cases to DLUHC through the Jira helpdesk.
In cases where the applicant has not been issued a visa, the visa application will not be progressed with that sponsor. Where the applicant meets all other requirements, the applicant will be contacted by the government to offer them the option to withdraw their visa application or be supported in finding a new sponsor through a rematch. The government will also notify the sponsor to confirm them that their application has been withdrawn.
In cases where the guest(s) has already been issued with a visa, but has not yet arrived in the UK, Border Force will attempt to intercept the guest at the border and will contact the council to liaise on providing alternative accommodation. Councils should take reasonable steps to contact guests to inform them that the sponsor has not met the requirements of the scheme and set out the alternative options available to the guest.
In all cases of post-visa sponsorship withdrawal, the council will be expected to help secure or provide alternative accommodation, or domestic rematching. As it would be highly likely to be unreasonable for the guest(s) to occupy the accommodation, they would be owed statutory homelessness assistance. Local authorities may be able to end a homelessness prevention or relief duty owed to a guest(s) by facilitating a rematch, provided that the new placement and accommodation are suitable, and there is a reasonable prospect of it continuing to be available for at least six months. See further guidance below on homelessness assistance and rematching.
Local council checks
The local council is responsible for initial checks, including at least one in person visit, payments to sponsors, ongoing support, school places, and information about the local area. Following the guest(s)’ arrival, councils should confirm as soon as possible that the guest is well and that there are no welfare concerns or needs for care and support. Where there are concerns for the safety or welfare of a child, local authorities should follow their usual processes in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children which may include further assessments. Where it is suspected that the adult may have care and support needs, a needs assessment should be undertaken in line with the requirements of the Care Act 2014.
When checks raise a concern
The safety of beneficiaries and sponsors within the Homes for Ukraine scheme is paramount. Councils should assess whether any of the information gathered through their checks impacts upon a sponsor’s suitability.
Where the council has concerns about the suitability of accommodation, they should speak with the owner of the property about changes that could be made to remedy any issues before deeming the property unsuitable. See further guidance on accommodation below.
Councils should remain vigilant to safeguarding risks and where concerns arise use existing guidance and frameworks to take appropriate action. See further guidance on responding to safeguarding or welfare concerns below.
Where a council assesses that a sponsor is unsuitable, they should record this information as soon as possible on Foundry. Where they are aware that an applicant is yet to be issued with a visa or has not yet travelled, they should also urgently report this case directly to DLUHC through the Jira helpdesk. It is vital that councils report these cases through the Jira helpdesk as DLUHC is only able to take action on cases reported through this route.
In cases where the applicant has not been issued a visa, the visa application will not be progressed with that sponsor. Where the applicant meets all other requirements, the applicant will be contacted by the government to offer them the option to withdraw their visa application or be supported in finding a new sponsor through a rematch. The government will also contact the sponsor to advise them that the application will not be progressed.
In cases where the guest(s) has already been issued with a visa, but has not yet arrived in the UK, Border Force will attempt to intercept the beneficiary at the border and will contact the council to liaise on providing alternative accommodation. In these cases, the council will be responsible for urgently contacting the sponsor to advise them that the sponsorship arrangement will not be progressed. Councils should take reasonable steps to contact guests to inform them that the sponsor has not met the requirements of the scheme and set out the alternative options available to the guest.
In cases where the guest(s) has already arrived at the sponsor’s household, the council will be responsible for contacting the guest(s) and the sponsor. It is crucial they do this as soon as possible, particularly where there are safeguarding concerns.
In both cases, where a visa has already been issued, the council will be expected to help secure or provide alternative accommodation, or domestic rematching. As it would be highly likely to be unreasonable for the guest(s) to occupy the accommodation, they would be owed statutory homelessness assistance. Local authorities may be able to end a homelessness prevention or relief duty owed to a guest(s) by facilitating a rematch, provided that the new placement and accommodation are suitable, and there is a reasonable prospect of it continuing to be available for at least six months. See further guidance below on homelessness assistance and rematching.
Councils have a statutory duty to promote the welfare of adults and children at risk and reserve the right to check in on guests and inspect accommodation once they have arrived. This duty may sit across different council functions in two-tier areas where statutory care duties sit with upper tier authorities and housing duties with lower tier authorities. In these areas, a coordinated approach is appropriate. The sponsor guidance makes clear that prospective sponsors will be subject to accommodation and welfare checks.
Councils must make at least one in-person visit prior to the arrival of guests wherever possible and we have asked councils to confirm that they have checked that the accommodation exists as part of their data return to the Department. The cost of checks should not be passed to the sponsor or guest.
We recognise that the sponsor scheme is a unique arrangement that is seeing people open-up their homes in response to an international crisis. Accommodation checks should be proportionate to this and we ask councils to take a common sense approach. Councils have full discretion on the approach they take to accommodation checks and the judgements they make during these visits. We advise councils to check that accommodation is suitable for the number and profile of people intending to live in it, with access to adequate facilities, and that there are no serious safety issues (e.g. gas or electrical hazards). The Local Government Association has produced emerging good practice examples and resources that councils may find useful in this context, and will be working to support councils as they take this work forward.
You may wish to note that sponsors have been asked to check that their accommodation is suitable, with considerations set out in the scheme FAQs which reflect some of the most common safety issues in homes. In this guidance we ask that accommodation:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
- have access to drinking water;
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire);
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
- have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
- have safe gas appliances and fittings and flues; you should make appropriate checks; a Gas Safety Certificate is not mandatory though you may require one if you have cause for concern.
- have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
- be reasonably free from damp or mould;
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
- be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.
Sponsors are also informed about the legal requirements on overcrowding. However, councils may consider any factors they deem relevant in order to assess whether accommodation is suitable, enabling flexibility at a local level to deal with individual cases on their merits. Councils continue to retain powers and duties set out in the Housing Act 2004. This guidance does not replace or affect that.
If, on checking the accommodation a council decides that it is unsafe and/or unsuitable, we recommend that they speak with the owner of the property about changes that could be made to remedy any issues before deeming the property unsuitable. Again, this should be based on a pragmatic approach. The government would encourage councils to support sponsors – particularly those that do not usually house guests or let out their property to tenants - to bring their properties to an appropriate standard where possible, for example, by working with the Fire Service to supply additional smoke alarms. Councils retain the discretion to use their enforcement powers to require that issues are remedied if they judge that this is necessary and proportionate. For example, councils could undertake a risk assessment using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and use their range of enforcement powers (e.g. Hazard Awareness Notices, Improvement Notices etc).
Following the guest(s)’ arrival, councils should confirm as soon as possible that the guest is well and that there are no serious safeguarding or welfare concerns or needs for care and support. Where it is suspected that the adult may have care and support needs, a needs assessment should be undertaken in line with the requirements of the Care Act 2014.
Councils may use their discretion in determining the appropriate approach to undertaking these checks. Where possible, councils are encouraged to conduct an initial check of the accommodation before a guest arrives, except for in the case of a rematch, when the checks must take place in advance of move-in. The cost of checks should not be passed to the sponsor or guest. We have asked councils to confirm that they checked that the accommodation exists as part of their data return to the department. Sponsors have been asked to check that their accommodation is suitable, with considerations set out in the scheme FAQs.
Where no rent is being paid by the sponsor of the accommodation, and since no rent is payable by the guest under the scheme (nor does the ‘thank you’ payment constitute “other consideration”), we do not expect councils to require such accommodation to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence, whether mandatory or additional (per the HMO definition in the Housing Act 2004, S.254 (2)(e)). Where the sponsor is themselves paying rent for the accommodation being offered under the scheme (e.g. a tenant renting in the private rented sector), the property may be in scope of additional/mandatory HMO licensing schemes in operation in the area. A tenant offering a spare room is already advised to seek their landlord’s consent before doing so. The landlord can consider whether they are happy to approve of the arrangement, including whether this may bring them within scope of HMO licensing in their local area. Where accommodation is in scope of selective licensing, councils should take a pragmatic approach in recognition of the unique nature of the scheme.
The DBS application should be started as soon as possible following receipt of data on sponsors and guests. The council will facilitate the application, by the sponsor and any other eligible individuals within the household, including seeking permission for the appropriate DBS checks. In the instance of a rematch, the relevant DBS checks must be completed in advance of move in. In terms of eligibility, within the Homes for Ukraine (HFU) scheme, the expectation is that:
Checks on sponsors
- If a match is made which involves a family group including at least one guest who is a child (i.e., under 18), an Enhanced DBS check will be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16+. This includes a check of the children’s barred list. However, this does not apply if the child guest is related to the host sponsor, in this instance only a Basic DBS check is required. The Enhanced check (including a check of the children’s barred list) is needed due to the level of safeguarding risk within households where the sponsor and/or other individuals aged 16+ may provide care or supervision of a child guest under the scheme on more than 3 occasions in a 30-day period, or overnight, bringing the sponsors and other adults, for the purpose of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, into regulated activity (SVGA 2006, Sch4, Part1).
- If your council decides that an adult guest requires additional support, due to age, illness or disability and it is proposed that an adult (16+) member of the sponsoring household provides them with this support, then the local authority may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) to be undertaken on any member of the sponsor’s household who is proposed to provide that support. Existing guidance regarding Regulated Activity with Adults can support the council’s assessment of the eligibility of individuals for this level of check.
- In all other cases, including where there is a family relationship between the sponsor and the guest(s), a Basic DBS check should be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16+.
Applying for DBS checks
In terms of initiating DBS checks, the council and/or Registered Body will provide the sponsor (and any adults, 16 or over, in the sponsor’s household) with the appropriate form, Basic or Enhanced, which will need to be completed by the individual. The council will need to check the identity of each applicant and, for the Enhanced check, countersign the application form.
Councils will be aware that changes to DBS ID checking guidelines are still in place; COVID-19: Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines. As stated in DBS guidance, when checking the validity of the documents it is best practice to carry out this examination face-to-face. Other alternative methods include via a live video link, for example Skype and FaceTime. In both cases you must be in physical possession of the original documents. Any risks identified when using live video must be assessed and mitigated by you if implementing this practice. You must not rely on the inspection of the documents via a live video link, or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document.
Councils should be aware that:
- DBS is required to charge a fee for checks. Councils will be required to cover the cost of DBS checks from the £10,500 funding that is being provided to enable them to provide support to families to settle in.
- To facilitate processing, councils or Registered Bodies must include the word “Ukraine” in the ‘position applied for’ field in the form for Enhanced checks.
- To ensure that the relevant Enhanced DBS checks are delivered as efficiently as possible the council or Registered Body submitting the check must not tick the box on the application form (field x66) which indicates that the applicant will be working at their home address.
- Councils should ensure prompt input of check results to the Foundry system to enable assurance of the safeguarding process and to enable allocation of the £10,500 funding for arrivals.
Councils are expected to make at least one in-person visit once the guest(s) has arrived. This welfare check enables the council to see whether there are any welfare concerns or formal assessments that should be undertaken. Before undertaking the visit, the local authority can choose to review their local intelligence, if any, on the sponsor household in line with pages 18-22 of Working Together to Safeguard Children and guidance on Information Sharing Information sharing: advice for practitioners (publishing.service.gov.uk).
It is for local authorities to decide who undertakes the welfare check, ensuring they have sufficient knowledge of potential issues.
During the visit, the local authority may wish to:
- Set expectations with both the sponsors and guest(s) (individually and together) over the scheme, the relationship between them, including that each is responsible for their own family, and what support is available to them;
- Run through with both sponsors and guest(s) what potential issues they should be aware of and how they can raise concerns. Check that the guest has the means to access these for themselves should they need to; and
- Share information on support available, and processes such as school places, registering with a GP.
At the visit local authorities should sense check the individuals and their relationships, being aware of potential safeguarding issues such as trafficking. They should also ensure all guests and sponsor household listed on the application are correct and present. It is good practice for local authorities briefly to document the visit for their records.
Local authorities should consider if there are any further assessments they may need to complete, e.g. child in need assessments under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, Care Act 2014 assessments for adults, as well as what further support the guests and sponsors may need.
During the process of undertaking the welfare check and receiving the DBS certificate, councils should also use any additional existing processes to assess whether the sponsor is an appropriate host.
Application of statutory safeguarding duties
Whilst this guidance sets out specific requirements for this scheme, local authorities should continue to follow existing statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children along with specific guidance on relevant harms such as modern slavery, exploitation or domestic abuse. They should also continue working with other safeguarding partners, including the police and health agencies, as usual as they carry out their statutory safeguarding functions, and share information as necessary so that there is a joint understanding of and response to any concerns arising. They may also wish to engage other relevant agencies and services who come into contact with guest families.
Potential safeguarding issues
The vast majority of those applying to be Homes for Ukraine sponsor households will be doing so for altruistic reasons, wishing to help others find a place of safety after turbulent times. But nonetheless there are risks, as in other areas, that some will be applying to be a sponsor for the wrong reasons. Everyone should be vigilant and take appropriate safeguarding action where needed. Some of those issues will be immediately apparent, e.g. through an unsatisfactory DBS certificate or previous local concerns about the sponsor, others will only emerge over time.
The sponsor household and guest household will each retain responsibility for their own family members. As the provider of the accommodation, the sponsor is in a relative position of power. There will also be potential harms from outside of the household that guest families (both adults and children) may be vulnerable to. Local authorities should particularly consider whether there are risks or instances of:
exploitation & trafficking Modern slavery and human trafficking – National Crime Agency
child abuse. Child abuse concerns: guide for practitioners
child sexual exploitation Department for Education core guidance
criminal exploitation Criminal Exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County Lines guidance
Local authorities should use existing guidance and frameworks as detailed above on these issues, along with any other matters that might become apparent. Local authorities should draw on existing safeguarding partnership arrangements to support this work and consider whether there are additional services that safeguarding partners should engage with to provide support.
Local authorities should work together with local policing leads, local anti-slavery partnerships and modern slavery policy leads to put in place preventative measures to reduce the risk of refugee exploitation in their area.
Further information on links with Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking policing can be found on the NPCC Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) Unit website.
From experiences of other large-scale movements of people in times of crisis, it is possible for family groups to become separated. Local authorities should therefore be alert to children having potentially left Ukraine and surrounding countries with adults that are not related to them. This may be picked up before travel or at the border but it may also not become apparent until later in their stay in the UK.
If any unaccompanied children come to light, then statutory duties under the Children Act 1989 apply. Local authorities are expected to act in accordance with those duties, including for example determining whether a child is in need under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, and whether there is a need to provide accommodation in accordance with section 20. In exercising any statutory duty, in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children, local authorities will want to consider the potential for future family reunification and return to Ukraine.
The scheme expects a single visit at the outset. It is good practice for local authorities to check how the sponsor-guest relationship is going and whether support is needed or if any concerns have emerged. It is for local authorities to determine whether and how frequent any follow up visits should be, based on their assessment of need and appropriateness in line with existing statutory responsibilities for children and adults.
Interim payment for guest
The council where the sponsor accommodation is located should provide an interim payment (in line with other resettlement schemes) of £200 per guest for subsistence costs. The £200 payment is factored into the tariff and does not need to be repaid by the guest. Councils should agree a plan locally to determine how this payment is delivered (see ‘Funding for Councils’).
Councils will also have discretion within the tariff to top-up or further support guests with interim or additional payments. As those arriving will most likely not have immediate access to a bank account, it is recommended that this payment is made in cash, more information on access to bank accounts can be found in the scheme FAQs. Working age guests will be able to apply to receive Universal Credit and will be able to apply for advance payments where eligible. Pension age guests will have access to State Pension Credit provided they meet eligibility criteria.
Rematching during the initial 6-month delay
Whilst the priority is to ensure as many sponsorship relationships as possible are sustainable and can support guests for six months and longer, in a minority of cases this will not be possible. Councils will be able to rematch Homes for Ukraine guests with new sponsors in certain circumstances during the initial 6-month stay, and more broadly following the end of an initial sponsorship.
Rematching during the initial 6-month stay should only be used where it is unviable or unsafe for the sponsorship relationship to continue. Only those who received a visa through the Homes for Ukraine visa route are eligible for rematching.
Within the first 6 months of a guest’s arrival rematching should only take place if one or more of the following applies:
A. Only when the council determines it is genuinely not viable or safe for the Ukrainian guest(s) to stay where they are.
B. Because of failed DBS or accommodation checks. Councils should keep rematches to a minimum, to limit instability for guests and ensure rematching is prioritised for the most pressing situations.
If a council has a request for a rematch from Ukrainian guests, but does not deem it justified, it is reasonable to turn this down or prioritise cases deemed more pressing. Councils will need to use their judgement in determining whether there has been an irreparable breakdown in sponsorship.
If a sponsorship has broken down due to concerns over the quality of accommodation or safeguarding issues related to the host, that host should not be considered for rematching and there is a mechanism in Foundry to mark the sponsor as unsuitable.
Finding another host beyond the 6-month point
Finding another host is also available as an option for those who are not ready to leave sponsorship and move into their own alternative accommodation, but can’t stay with their current host, following the end of their initial stay.
Post six months arrival In these circumstances, guests can source an alternative host who would be willing to take them for a further rematch, either directly themselves, through the council or through a third party. Councils will need to formally ratify the rematch and undertake the necessary checks before the guest can move in and the new host receives the thank you payment. See further guidance.
Rematching across local authority areas
Where a beneficiary moves to another a local authority area and this move is deemed justified/necessary, this should only happen with the agreement of the receiving local authority. Local authorities can record a rematch out of, or into, their area on Foundry, and step-by-step instructions on this process are set out in the Foundry User Guide.
The receiving local authority should then carry out the relevant DBS and accommodation checks and if returned successfully, can then make the “thank you” payment available, in line with wider guidance on rematching. If a move happens without the agreement of the receiving local authority, then this is outside of the scheme, and there is no obligation on the receiving local authority to retrospectively recognise this as a rematch.
Rematching between devolved administrations
Where a beneficiary moves to another part of the UK, the host devolved administration (DA) or local authorities should raise the case via JIRA, and/or contact the relevant lead in the receiving authority to alert them to the case, to confirm that they are willing to accept. A move should only take place with the agreement of the receiving local authority or DA. The receiving DA or local authority should carry out the relevant DBS and accommodation checks and if returned successfully, can then make the “thank you” payment available to the new sponsor.
LA Foundry functionality
Councils will be provided with the functionality to facilitate rematches through the Foundry system. Relevant inputs should be entered on Foundry regularly, and at a minimum, weekly.
This will allow councils to use the Expression of Interest (EOI) data (from people who registered their interest in becoming a sponsor) to identify and assess the suitability of new potential sponsors. Alongside the EOI information, councils will also be able to source new hosts locally. Prospective hosts from the EOI information will be informed that councils may be in touch for matching opportunities within their area.
The safety of beneficiaries and sponsors within the Homes for Ukraine scheme is paramount. There are some differences to the checks process for rematches as these checks are happening outside of the visa system, when beneficiaries are already safely in the country and in contact with councils, and without the checks applied to sponsors at the initial visa application point. When rematching people on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, checks designed to safeguard households will be the responsibility of councils.
Because rematching will be council-led and in-country, checks will be the responsibility of councils. Councils will be required to undertake relevant DBS checks and accommodation checks in advance of move-in.
Councils are expected to work through their existing multi-agency safeguarding partnerships to pool information they have, to ensure any risks have been picked up, for example by agreeing the use of multi-agency safeguarding hubs or similar integrated teams. The Government will be writing to local safeguarding partners to reinforce this.
Councils and sponsors may need to signpost guests from Ukraine to open a UK bank account for the purposes of receiving Interim payments and Universal Credit or other state benefits. Further details can be found within the Welcome guide.
More information, including a list of some providers and their websites can be found in section 2.1 of the welcome guide
There are a range of providers, guests can choose which provider suits them best.
To open a bank or building society account, guests will probably need to:
1. Make sure they have an email address set up in their name and a valid phone number, to help the bank or building society communicate with them.
2. Collect all identification and visa documents.
To open a new bank or building society account, you’ll need to provide some basic personal information. Here’s what the bank or building society may want to know about you:
- date of birth
- contact details (email address set up in the guest’s name and a valid phone number)
To open a bank or building society account in the UK, guests also need to show proof of ID, and may be asked for things like:
- biometric residency permit
- driver’s licence
- recognised identity card
The quickest way to prove identification is likely to be with a passport and/or Biometric Residence Permit (issued by the UK government). Some UK banks and building societies may ask for proof of address, though this is not required by law to open a bank or building society account. If you don’t have all the identification documents, guests should take all the information they have with them to the bank or building society. Banks and building societies are encouraged to consider alternative ways to identify and verify their customers, and the government has been working closely with the sector to support access for incoming Ukrainian nationals who may not have standard identification documentation.
3. Apply for an account either in person at a bank or building society branch (guests may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank or building society’s mobile app. If going into a branch, guests should take all relevant identification documents with them. Guests may need to download and fill in an application form from the bank or building society’s website. Guests might want to ask your sponsor to help them complete the form and go with them to the bank or building society.
Education and childcare
Just like families entering UK under the Afghan and Hong Kong BN(O) resettlement schemes, children arriving from Ukraine will have no specific additional priority for admission, but the council is under a duty to offer advice to parents on the school application process and should advise them where vacancies exist and how to apply.
If there are school places available in the local area, even if not in the immediate vicinity of the family’s home, the council should work with families arriving from Ukraine to enable the children to attend school as soon as possible. It is expected that councils provide places and, that school admission authorities, where they can, utilise the space in their schools as fully as possible and admit above their published admission numbers.
Refugee children should be prioritised for admission under a local authority in-year fair access protocol, and placed quickly, in the circumstances set out in the School Admissions Code, e.g. where the child has been refused admission to schools within a reasonable distance of his or her home.
Likewise, children, including those fleeing from Ukraine, should be admitted in-year as exceptions to the infant class size limit where there is no alternative school place within a reasonable distance of their home.
All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday and most continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18. Councils have a statutory duty to support 16- and 17-year-olds to move into education and training. Guests living in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme, or the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine are eligible to enrol as a student, although colleges (but not state-funded schools) may ask to see evidence of eligibility. This could be the Home Office documentation that gives families from Ukraine the legal right to reside in UK. These documents give automatic rights to access education.
The government is providing additional funding to councils to provide education services for children from families if they have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
People from Ukraine aged 19+ and their family members settled in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) can access training to gain the skills they need to move on with their lives. This includes provision funded through the Adult Education Budget (including ESOL) and Level 3 - Free Courses for Job Offer and Skills Bootcamps. As the £10,500 tariff is not ringfenced, it can also be used to fund education and skills support including ESOL provision. We know local authorities are working closely with local Further Education providers so new arrivals are signposted to and can access ESOL and other adult education.
Where necessary, councils should provide advice and referrals to specialist public health services as appropriate e.g., mental health services, adult social care, and children’s services. DLUHC will provide further advice on this in due course.
Work and benefits
Councils should support guests to access local Jobcentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments and job-seeking.
There is a Help to Claim service provided by Citizens Advice that is confidential. Citizens Advice will not share claimants’ personal information unless they agree. Find a link to the service here
If guests are unable to claim online or to get help with their claim, they can call the Universal Credit helpline. Calls to the Universal Credit helpline are free. Telephone: 0800 328 5644
When their Universal Credit claim has been made, they will be invited for a meeting with a Work Coach at their local Jobcentre Plus.
When making a claim guests should use their own bank account details and ensure that they are the only person with access to their account.
Guests can look for and start work without a National Insurance number if they can prove they can work in the UK. Guests can prove they have the right to work in the UK by showing their employer either their Biometric Residence Permit or their visa in their passport.
National Careers Service: Provides free, impartial, and personalised information and guidance on careers. Can help guests to make decisions on learning, training, and work. Advice is delivered through individual and group face-to-face sessions, over the telephone and online at nationalcareers.service.gov.uk.
Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a National Insurance number is not part of these checks, and the possession of a National Insurance number does not prove that an individual has a right to work. The employer you want to work for will tell you what documents you need to show.
If guests do not have a NI number they can find further information on how to apply for one, guests will be advised of the documents they will need to provide when making an application.
If the guest does not have a National Insurance Number but is applying for benefit, the process to apply for a National Insurance number will be initiated by the benefit line. The claimant will not need to apply for a National Insurance Number separately.
If a guest works in the UK on a self-employed basis, (working for themselves as opposed to working for an employer), they may incur a UK tax liability on their self-employment earnings. This must be paid through the HMRC Self-Assessment system. Information about income tax and personal allowances can be found at income tax rates. Information about Self-Assessment, including how to register, is at Self Assessment tax returns
Councils have discretion on the form of interim (and any additional) payments made to guests. In the guidance we’ve recommended these payments be made in cash where possible.
In addition to the £200 interim payment, guests may have the option of receiving an advance payment from Universal Credit.
From the date the claim was submitted, the first regular Universal Credit payment is usually paid 5 weeks later. This is made up of a one month assessment period and up to 7 days for the payment to reach their account.
Once identification has been verified and a National Insurance number added to a claim, if required the claimant can apply for an advance to support them until they receive their first payment. This can be requested over the phone or online. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will advise the claimant on the request via the guest’s Universal Credit account or preferred method of contact when they can apply for an advance.
Claimants can request an advance of up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit entitlement. Claimants will be asked over what period of time they wish to spread their advance recovery, up to 24 months. A claimant who chooses 24 months will receive the same amount of entitlement during that time, just divided into 25 payments rather than 24.
Once agreed advance payments will generally take 3-4 days to be paid into the claimants account. If a claimant has an urgent need, they may be able to receive a same day payment (this option is not available on weekends and public holidays).
Child Benefit is a universal benefit for parents or guardians that issues monthly payments equating to £21.80 per week for the eldest child and £14.45 per week for each additional child.
Guests will usually be able to claim Child Benefit if they are the parent or guardian of a child or children under the age of 16 (or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training). By claiming Child Benefit, they receive monetary payments, usually every 4 weeks. They need to apply for Child Benefit by filling in a Child Benefit claim form and sending it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form. More information on claiming Child Benefit, including the evidence that they will need to provide with your claim, can be found at child benefit.
There may be some cases where the sponsor/guest relationship breaks down and the guest is homeless or at risk of homelessness. Councils’ statutory homelessness duties will apply in this instance.
If a local authority decides there is no reason to believe someone may have priority need they do have powers to provide them with accommodation, and given funding is available to support people within the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, they should consider exercising these powers where necessary.
Local housing authorities may be able to end a homelessness prevention or relief duty owed to a Ukrainian beneficiary by facilitating a rematch, provided the placement and accommodation are suitable and there is a reasonable prospect of it continuing to be available for at least six months.
Local housing authorities must continue to consider their statutory homelessness duties in full and take account of the individual circumstances of each household when assessing if the accommodation and match is suitable. DLUHC has provided more detail on this interaction in an update to the Homelessness Code of Guidance (see Chapter 14).DLUHC intends to provide more detail on this interaction shortly in an update to the Homelessness Code of Guidance, as well as consequences for intentional homelessness decisions.
Homelessness legislation in respect of local connection is unchanged. However, to support councils in determining which authority should provide assistance in cases where the household is yet to establish a local connection, the recommended general approach should be for the council where the household’s sponsor is located to take the homelessness application.
If the household makes a homelessness application to a council other than the council where their sponsor is located, in line with the legislation the council must take the application and then consider if a local connection referral is appropriate.
Councils will play a key role in supporting the integration of Ukrainian families into their local communities. This will be particularly important in areas of the country that might not have strong links with the Ukrainian diaspora. Integration support might include the organisation of community events, the use of community champions and interfaith networks, increasing local authority contact/interaction with people from Ukraine, access to translation services and working with local voluntary sector organisations and faith groups to help signpost advice and support.
Administering payments to sponsors
Sponsors are eligible for an optional ‘thank you payment’ of £350 per month, for as long as the guest remains in their accommodation for up to 12 months. This payment will be tax free and should not affect the sponsor’s entitlement to benefits or council tax status.
Councils will administer these ‘thank you’ payments to sponsors. Central government will allocate funding for these payments but expects councils to cover administration costs from the tariff including costs of fraud prevention.
- We recognise that councils require flexibility to issue payments using the systems best suited to their local arrangements. Therefore, councils should build in payments as part of their existing workflow processes with sponsors, however they best see fit. However, authorities must ensure that they adhere to the following conditions of payment: Only the named lead sponsor is eligible for the £350 payment per month
- Lead sponsors can claim for up to 12 months
- Lead sponsors are only eligible for monthly payments for as long as the guest remains living in their accommodation
- Only one monthly payment will be given per residential address, regardless of the number of guests being hosted, size, or location of the property
- Payments must only be issued to those lead sponsors where it is confirmed that they have passed the necessary property and safeguarding checks. All 5 set checks within Foundry must have been completed before the council begins the process of issuing the sponsor payment
- Fraud checks must be conducted in line with the councils anti-fraud processes
- Lead sponsors are not eligible for the £350 monthly payment if they are charging the guest rent
- Conducting an in person check at the 6-month mark as a minimum to verify that the guest is still residing at the accommodation
Whilst there is flexibility for how councils can deliver these payments, an example of how this might be conducted could include:
- Confirming with the sponsor that they would like to receive the optional £350 monthly payments
- Making sure the sponsor signs a self-declaration form confirming all details are correct, that they are not charging rent, and that they agree to notify the council of any changes
- Conducting all safeguarding and property checks before administering the payment.
- Conducting the necessary fraud checks, such as checking the sponsor’s identity, cross- referencing this information against relevant council databases to confirm the correct name and address has been provided, requesting a bank statement from the sponsor, and seeking evidence of the guest’s visa
- Paying the sponsor monthly in arrears directly into their bank account
- Conducting an in person check at the 6-month mark to verify that the guest is still residing at the accommodation
The onus is on the sponsor to notify the council of any changes during the 12-month period following the signing of the self-declaration form. Councils should make sure that this is clearly understood by the sponsor and that they understand who they should report any change of circumstances to. Councils should ensure at least one in person check is conducted at the 6-month mark at a minimum but may conduct more checks if they wish. Where other property or safeguarding checks are occurring, these can be combined with verifying that they guest still remains at the property. The followingcan be used by councils if they so wish to seek conformation that sponsors understand this requirement.
Where guests move out before the full 12-month period, the sponsor is eligible to claim the monthly payment if the guest has lived in their accommodation for at least half of the month of departure.
Identifying where rent is being charged
Councils should ask the sponsor and guest whether rent is being charged and whether the guest is being asked to provide contributions to food or utilities. Councils should use their discretion to assess whether these contributions are excessive and, if they constitute rent in practice, councils can decline to make the thank you payment. Councils are responsible for the prevention of fraud of the £350 payment at a local level and this should be conducted in line with usual fraud prevention activities. Costs of counter-fraud activity related to the operation of the scheme are covered within the £10,500 tariff.
It is recommended that councils conduct a 10% sample of monitoring checks for these payments. Over time councils may wish to raise or lower this depending on the level of risk they identify. These checks can be combined with any other ongoing checks.
Should members of the public suspect fraud is taking place, they should direct their concerns to the relevant council to investigate further.
Where fraud is identified, councils should use their best endeavours to claw the money back applying their usual counter-fraud and debt collection practices. Where councils are able to claw the money back, we expect this to be included in the reconciliation process at the end of the financial year.
Funding for councils for Homes for Ukraine
The government is providing funding at a rate of £10,500 per person to councils to enable them to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities.
This funding is un-ringfenced, with a number of conditions attached, and matches the tariff offered under the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), although the role of councils will be different. For example, councils will not be asked to source initial accommodation under this scheme as this will be provided by the sponsor.
The government is also providing funding for councils to administer the optional ‘thank you’ payments at the £350 per sponsoring household per month rate. We allocate additional funding for these payments through a ringfenced grant, and we expect councils to cover administration costs within the tariff. There are also conditions attached to this grant. Further details on the grant conditions are outlined below.
The Department will make regular payments to councils, each covering three months of the programme, in arrears. On 30 June 2022 DLUHC made the first payment to councils in England, to cover the months March to May.
Payments are based on the actual number of Homes for Ukraine guests (for the £10,500 tariff) and the actual number of payments to sponsoring households (for the £350 ‘thank you’ payments) within each area. DLUHC will conduct a reconciliation process at the end of the financial year to ensure that councils receive their correct entitlement for both the £10,500 tariff and £350 ‘thank you’ payments. Future guidance will cover outstanding detail on this process, including the process by which we will account for movements of guests between sponsorships that cross local authorities.
In England, in two tier areas, both districts and counties have access to funds for their relevant duties under the scheme. Having engaged closely with representatives from the sector to determine the most appropriate payment mechanism, funding for both the £10,500 tariff and the £350 thank -you payments will be provided to upper tier councils.
However, in two tier areas it is a condition of the funding that councils must agree a plan locally to:
- make prompt payments to lower tier authorities in relation to all the services which they provide to guests under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, during the full duration of the scheme, including for services such as homelessness assistance for which lower tier authorities are responsible; and
- make an immediate payment to lower tier councils in relation to any upfront costs.
In Scotland, councils will receive the £10,500 and the £350 thank you payments directly from DLUHC except in those instances where guests are placed in temporary accommodation of more than 14 days. In those cases, DLUHC will pay the Scottish Government the £350 directly through budget cover transfers.
In Wales, the Welsh Government will receive the £10,500 tariff payments for local authorities from DLUHC. The £350 thank you payments will be provided directly to Welsh councils by DLUHC, except in cases where the Welsh Government act as a sponsor. In those cases the £350 will be paid to the Welsh Government until guests move into sponsorship accommodation, at which point the thank you payments will be paid to councils.
In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive will manage all £350 thank you payments to sponsors and all £10,500 tariff payments for local authorities, and will be compensated by DLUHC.
We will continue to collect data relating to the programme via the Foundry system, through which we expect councils to upload relevant data on a weekly basis at a minimum. We also expect councils to maintain accurate records on the number of guests and sponsorship households in their area. It is critical that this data is accurately captured and reported to the Department to enable payments of funding to be made.
We expect councils to use the tariff to meet all of their associated costs (both for providing council services to guests and for administering payments). We recognise, however, that a small number of councils may incur additional essential costs above and beyond what could reasonably be regarded as normal expenditure and not available through other mainstream funding mechanisms. We will therefore consider claims for such costs on an exceptional basis only.
We ask that any council who may be experiencing unmanageable pressures to contact the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the first instance.
The government is also providing additional funding to councils to provide education services for children from families arriving from Ukraine under this scheme. The Department for Education (DfE) will allocate funding on a per pupil basis for the 3 phases of education at the following annual rates:
- Early years (ages 2 to 4) - £3,000
- Primary (ages 5 -11) - £6,580
- Secondary (ages 11-18) - £8,755
These tariffs include support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The authority where the guest resides is responsible for paying the monthly £350 payment to the sponsor. If the sponsor is within another council area, the two councils should work together to ensure the necessary fraud checks are conducted. The council responsible for issuing the payment will need to adhere to all of the above conditions but will likely need to rely on the sponsors council to cross reference the information against their records. We will provide further guidance on what should happen with the £350 payment if there is a change in sponsor in due course.
Homes for Ukraine funding - grant conditions
Funding for the Homes for Ukraine grant payments for English councils has conditions attached, which are set out in grant determinations published on gov.uk.
Grant payments to councils are made in arrears, and are subject to confirmation that guests have arrived and all conditions have been met. Councils must undertake all necessary safeguarding checks in line with the Department’s guidance. Relevant inputs, including whether safeguarding checks have been completed, should be entered on Foundry regularly, and at a minimum, weekly. In addition, it is a condition of funding that councils provide regular data returns in relation to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, as set out in guidance, including on the number of beneficiaries in their area.
Importantly, payments will not be made where the Department is not satisfied that councils are fully complying with relevant grant conditions, including the timely return of data in line with guidance. It is critical, therefore, that councils record all necessary information via the Foundry system. In addition, whilst we will continue to collect data relating to the programme via the Foundry system, we also expect councils to maintain accurate records on the number of guests and sponsorship households in their area.
Please find below the conditions that the Department has attached to these grants.
For the £350 thank you grant
Pursuant to section 31(5) of the Local Government Act 2003, the Secretary of State determines that the grant will be paid subject to the following conditions:
1. Payments to sponsors should only be paid in accordance with circumstances set out in the Homes for Ukraine guidance for councils (linked at Annex C) and should not be released until:
a. a visit to the sponsoring household property, by the local authority, has been completed; and
b. the local authority has confirmed that the accommodation is suitable, that the guest is well and that there are no serious safeguarding or welfare concerns.
2. A recipient authority must ensure thank you payments to eligible sponsoring households who request them are made as soon as practicable.
For the £10,500 tariff grant
Pursuant to section 31(5) of the Local Government Act 2003, the Secretary of State determines that the grant will be paid subject to the following conditions:
1. A recipient authority must use the funding to carry out the activities, as set out in the Homes for Ukraine guidance, including completing all 5 safeguarding and accommodation checks, including DBS checks, on sponsors and the property in line with the Department’s guidance as soon as practicable, and record these 5 checks on the Foundry system.
2. A recipient authority must commission or provide services that ensure guests and sponsors are provided with a source of advice and support to assist with registering for mainstream benefits and services, including where necessary specialist public health services and community integration.
3. In two tier areas, upper tier authorities must agree a plan locally to:
a. make payments to lower tier authorities in relation to all the services which they provide to guests under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, during the full duration of the scheme, including for services such as homelessness assistance for which lower tier authorities are responsible; and
b. make an immediate payment to lower tier authorities in relation to any upfront costs.
4. A recipient authority must provide regular data returns in relation to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, as set out in guidance. For example:
a. Entering relevant data on Foundry regularly, and at a minimum, weekly; and
b. that Section 151 officers must sign off quarterly returns to the Department which include: MI data to indicate how many people are moving in/out of the area; the number of £350 ‘thank you’ payments made to sponsoring households; and confirmation that conditions have been met.
For both the £350 thank you grant and the £10,500 tariff grant
- Where the amount of grant paid to an authority exceeds the authority’s actual pressures (based on either the number of legitimate payments to sponsorship households, or the number of guests resident in their area), the difference shall be repaid to the minister. In addition, if the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is made aware that an authority is in breach of the grant conditions above, it reserves the right to recover funding. There will be a reconciliation process at the end of the relevant financial year.
The application form will ask for details on the location of the proposed accommodation for the guest so that details can be passed to councils and the Devolved Administrations. The data transfer steps are as follows:
1. The sponsor and guest’s data are submitted to the Home Office via the visa application process
2. These data are shared with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the relevant council via the Foundry CMS. It will include the sponsor’s contact details, address and the guest’s visa status
3. The visa application will then be processed by the Home Office.
4. Data are updated every day and council users must log into the CMS to see
Note: The Foundry CMS will prompt council users to contact sponsors and guests, ensure accommodation is suitable and to conduct safeguarding checks.
Homes for Ukraine online portal: Safeguarding and accommodation checks
The Homes for Ukraine scheme requires councils to conduct safeguarding and accommodation checks after receiving notification of a visa application.
Initiation and then completion of the checks should be recorded as soon as possible on Foundry, the online portal for Homes for Ukraine.
The 5 checks to be confirmed on the portal are:
- I have checked the accommodation exists and can be used as residential accommodation
- I have visited the accommodation and it appears suitable for the proposed guests
- I have initiated DBS checks
- I have confirmed that the guest(s) has/have arrived in the accommodation
- I have completed safeguarding checks, including visiting the guests in their accommodation and can confirm there are no serious concerns
Authority-level data is used for assurance on safeguarding and accommodation checks. The government is providing councils with funding of £10,500 per person under this scheme for the first year. This funding will enable councils to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities.
Payment of this grant will be conditional on councils undertaking necessary safeguarding checks and providing the department with relevant data. DLUHC will use completed data extracted from Foundry to support grant payments, and to provide assurance that relevant grant conditions have been met.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has produced a diagram that details how to extract and share data from the online portal. The user guide for getting set up and using the online portal and the diagram can be accessed through the links below.
If you are experiencing any log in or other problems using the online portal, please use the following form to report these Troubleshooting.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is hosting weekly sessions for users new to the Foundry system. Please note each session will require individual registration through Eventbrite via this link Sign Up
DLUHC has produced these resources about using the Foundry CMS:
- User guide - shows users how to get set up and use the system
- Diagram - details how to extract and share data
If you are experiencing any log in or other problems using the online portal, please use the troubleshooting form to report them.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities offers Foundry user support sessions every Thursday. You need to register for each session through Eventbrite.
Expression of interest (EOI) data is now available to councils so that:
- you can see information about people in your area who are interested in becoming sponsors
- you can compare the personal information of potential sponsors with other safeguarding data sources, to identify people who may be unsuitable to become sponsors
- you can identify potential sponsors for rematching
More information and guidance on rematching will be provided in the coming weeks.
The functionality for rematching is also now available on Foundry, and DLUHC will be running show and tell sessions to demonstrate the changes.
Further support on Foundry for councils
Councils can now see further support options available on the Foundry Platform.
Councils can log any issues via Foundry. Councils will need to select the area where they require support and be linked through to a Jira Registration page to log their issue. Users will only need to register once.
Alternatively, Councils can log in or register as a new user
Or call the Telephone Desk: 0303 444 4445
Opening Hours 9am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
Four to 6 months after guests have moved to your area
Many hosts are choosing to continue to sponsor their guests for as long as they can.
Where that is not possible, hosts are asked to inform their local council two months before a sponsorship arrangement ends.
Until you are notified by the host that the sponsorship arrangement has come to an end, the local council should continue to pay the £350 thank you payment in line with the guidance.
Finding new hosts
Guests on the Homes for Ukraine scheme who are not ready to leave sponsorship and move into their own alternative accommodation, but can’t stay with their current host, should try to find a new host.
This will broadly work the same as the current process for domestic rematching, however we will encourage guests who would like a new host to find the new host for themselves, rather than local authorities entirely managing the rematching process. We have offered guidance about how to do this.
If a guest requests a move to a different area of the UK, this should be agreed with the receiving council in advance. If a move happens without the agreement of the receiving local authority, we would encourage them to support this where possible.
New hosts who choose to sponsor a guest will be eligible to receive the monthly £350 thank you payment once they have had the necessary safeguarding and accommodation checks.
Guests are encouraged to get in touch with their local council to tell them that their current stay is ending, two months before the end of their stay. If they are finding it difficult to find a new host themselves, they may also get in touch with their local council for help to find a new host for a further 6-month stay.
Depending on how a guest finds a new host, the local authority’s role would be as follows:
- making the relevant checks and approving new hosts that guests have already found
- helping guests to find a new host, either through the Expression of Interest (EOI) list or other pools of hosts known to local councils
- directing guests to third-party organisations, for example local charities or community groups, who can help find a new host (NB: councils should liaise with these groups to ensure that they have capacity before making referrals).
- We will be working closely with councils over the summer to provide further guidance to support this process. For each route, the local authority should complete necessary checks in advance of a guest moving in, in line with wider rematching policy.
To increase the pool of available hosts, we will be asking individuals who are willing to host a guest for a minimum of six months to register their interest.
We will continue working with local councils on this process and how it will operate at scale as the number of guests seeking new hosts increase.
Renting private accommodation
If guests are considering renting private accommodation, we are directing them to guidance on their rights and responsibilities as tenants.
We have published a guide to help guests understand how to rent in England. This will help guests when they are ready and able to move out of sponsorship into independent accommodation. This guide is now available in Ukrainian and Russian.
You will want to direct guests to this guidance as a starting point.
Contacting the local council for alternative accommodation
Some guests will be unable to take advantage of any of the options set out above. We’re encouraging guests and their hosts to discuss their options with the local council.
We will share details about offers of accommodation (free or subsidised) made to central government by businesses and charities in your area. Through sharing these offers, we aim to support the provision of accommodation for people from Ukraine moving on from sponsorship arrangements, and for refugees.
Where necessary, we will work with local authorities to coordinate large offers of accommodation.
It is essential that local authorities continue to collect and accurately record on Foundry in a timely fashion (ideally daily) data about both guests and sponsors in their local authority as required by central government. These data requirements may be amended or updated from time to time, and we will write to local authorities with further information as appropriate.
This second set of guidance provides further detail of the councils’ role in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Future guidance will cover outstanding detail on the role of councils in other aspects of this phase:
Process for receiving data about new arrivals
Management information submission requirements