Why do we need to be involved?
Local Authorities are a key partner in Community Sponsorship for the Groups working across the UK to welcome refugees to their communities. You’re asked to be involved in Community Sponsorship projects so that you are aware of the refugee families who will be welcomed into your community. You’ll be asked to assist the Group in ensuring their safeguarding measures are fit for purpose, and work on a local level, as well as connecting them with the services on offer for newly arrived families.
Acceptance of the refugee family
You’ll be asked to approve the family who are arriving to your area, alongside the Group. You may need to liaise with the CCG or health board and/or your local educational department to ensure any health or additional educational needs can be met. You will also be able to put in claims to the Home Office for funds for education for children and young people.
Taking on support
In the very unlikely event of a breakdown in the relationship between the welcomed family and the Group, or ongoing support needs after the end of the formal sponsor agreement, the Local Authority may take on a leadership role in the resettlement of the family with funding made available to you from the Home Office.
You’ll be asked to complete the consent form or write a letter of permission from your Local Authority to the Home Office for the Community Sponsorship Group to submit alongside their application.
What else do we have to do?
The Community Sponsorship Group will need to invite the Local Authority to view the property they find for the family they will be supporting. If Local Authorities do choose to do the inspection, the housing check should be in line with standards specified by your authority. Some Local Authorities have removed charges for these checks, others ask the Groups to cover the costs. The Group will be contacting the local Safer Neighbourhood Team at your local police force, to ensure that the area is safe for a newly arrived refugee family, you will not need to do this.
The Group will be asked to submit their safeguarding policy to your Safeguarding team to comment on. Should the Safeguarding Team be unable, to do this, it will be checked by the Home Office. The Group will be asked to show evidence that they have engaged with the Safeguarding Team. If the Lead Sponsor organisation has applied in the same local authority within the previous 6 months, they will not need to ask for their safeguarding policy to be reviewed again.
Pre-Approval Meeting (PAM)- you will be invited to attend the pre-approval meeting with the Group and the Home Office. The group’s application is discussed in detail and provides all members of the meeting with the opportunity to raise any questions, comments or concerns they may have
You will be asked to approve the acceptance of the refugee family allocated to the Group
You will be invited to join post-arrival support visits with the Group and Reset so you can hear about how the group and family are getting on. You may be able to offer local expertise or a contact if the group have a problem with a particular area of their support.