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Supporting Ukraine

Team Devon working together to provide safe 'Homes for Ukraine'
Ukrainian: Партнери Devon працюють разом, щоб забезпечити безпечні домівки для українців
Russian: Партнеры Devon работают вместе, чтобы обеспечить безопасные дома для украинцев

Sponsor home visit checks

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Introduction

The compassion and generosity shown by the people of Devon in supporting those that have had to flee Ukraine has been enormous and we are so proud of the number of people willing to provide a safe place for individuals and families to live.

Of course, the safety of all concerned is our top priority and with that in mind, we have published this guide in order to provide you with an idea of the types of safety checks and considerations that will be needed once you begin sharing your home.

Aside from keeping sponsors, their households, and arriving Ukrainian guests safe, the UK government ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme requires us to carry out a housing check. However, this will happen in most cases after your guests have arrived, and has no bearing on the visa application process. We are working across all councils to do these checks as fast as possible, but you will appreciate there are many properties to visit, and it will take some time to get to them all.

We hope you will find this helpful as you think about the preparation that might be required. Our staff will of course help to reassure you about any worries you might have and will talk to you about, for example, your own support network, your community and any rules/boundaries you might wish to set in advance.

Resources, arrangements and checks

Listed below are some of the things you should consider in regard to your home, household and community:

Your home

  • How many people will you have as guests – are there any spaces out of bounds?
  • What will the cooking and relaxing facilities be like – are these private or shared?
  • Is there adequate bedroom space and privacy respected, for example, locks on the bathroom door?

Your household

  • Who is in the household and who are frequent visitors? (household members will need enhanced DBS checks and consideration will be given to frequent visitors)
  • Children – how old are they and are there any additional needs that need to be considered? Have you spoken to them about how you will keep them safe?
  • Any additional needs to be aware of generally?
  • Any specific issues to be aware of, for example, mental health, conflict, drug and alcohol issues.
  • Who are you expecting – you must inform us if you are expecting any unaccompanied young people.

Pets

  • Do you have pets or are you happy to take people with pets?

Expectations

  • Living together agreements – what thoughts have been given to this and what challenges might come up that can be thought about ahead?
  • Do childcare and chores need to be clearly defined? (not a good plan to share childcare).
  • Privacy and keeping yourself and others safe – including what to do if you are worried.

Your community

  • What is your local setting? For example, rural, village, town or city location.
  • What local facilities are there? For example, shops, doctors, parks.
  • What access is there to public transport? How will children get to school?
  • Are there churches nearby?
  • Any local hot spots/risks to be alert to? For example, rivers.
  • Personal safety in the community.

Anticipated needs/challenges and support

  • Experiences of trauma
  • Do you have personal networks to call upon?
  • What if something goes wrong or if something gets damaged?

Inspecting your home

Please note the following important items and issues that will be required for inspection:

  • Gas inspection – if no inspection within the last 12 months we may recommend that a carbon monoxide detector is installed.
  • Electrical installations. We will be expecting to see an electrical safety certificate for fixed electrical systems at a private rented property but not an owner-occupied one, in line with current regulations. We will look at electrical hazards within the property as part of the inspection. PAT testing is not expected as it relates to electrical safety in workplaces and portable equipment, though we recognise that some landlords do carry this out.
  • Smoke detectors – will need to be provided on each level of your home.
  • Carbon monoxide detector –  if you burn solid fuel a detector will need to be provided and we would recommend for all other fuel types.
  • Heating – what type of heating is available?
  • Water supply – if the supply is private, is it treated?

 

The Government scheme guidance isn’t specific on this, but generally my view is that inspectors will be expecting to see an electrical safety certificate for fixed electrical systems at a private rented property but not an owner-occupied one, in line with current regulations. In any case, we will look at electrical hazards within the property as part of the inspection. PAT testing is not expected as it relates to electrical safety in workplaces and portable equipment, however some landlords do carry this out.

Bedroom requirements

Although we are unable to specify minimum size requirements, we will need to consider bedroom size in order to avoid potential overcrowding.

Please also note that the following household members will require one bedroom:

  • An adult couple.
  • A person over 21.
  • 2 young persons 10-20 years of the same sex.
  • 1 child under 10 years and 1 young person under 20 of the same sex.
  • 1 or 2 children under 10 years (not necessarily of the same sex).
  • Any unpaired young person 10-20 years or unpaired children under 10.

Health and safety

General safety arrangements

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Are beds/cots/mattresses suitable and maintained in a hygienic state?
  • Is the accommodation free from clutter?
  • For rented properties, is the owner aware that you are hosting?
  • Do you hold current home building and contents insurance?
  • Have you informed your household insurance company that you are hosting?
  • Is there a first aid kit in the home?

Indoor safety

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Are fireguards fitted where appropriate?
  • Are there restrictors on all windows above ground level?
  • Are blind chords secured away from children’s beds/cots?
  • Are stair gates competently and securely fitted at the bottom of stairs when needed?

Pets

Issues that will be considered will include:

  • Do you have any pets?
  • Is your pet confined or restricted to certain parts of the property?
  • Are litter trays, feeding bowls and sleeping arrangements for pets hygienic?
  • Are pets regularly treated for worms and fleas?

Dog assessment

If you have a dog, we may complete a dog assessment with you, aimed at identifying your dog’s character and ensuring all children and adults remain safe. Over 70% of dog bites happen in the home, so although you know your dog well, we need to be sure any guest or their children do not come to harm.

The Blue Cross provides help and information for families on how to be safe with dogs, including a downloadable guide that can be printed if required.

The following will give you an idea of the types of questions that will be asked and the information that we will want to gather:

  • Response to people in public and reaction when visiting the house.
  • Style of approach (for example, gentle, jumper or physical)
  • Response to petting and touch.
  • Is it safe to give the dog a hug?
  • Mouth control and bite pressure.
  • Possessiveness or resource guarding.
  • Response to being stroked or physically examined.
  • Reaction to someone running.
  • Response to putting hands on food when eating.
  • Interaction with children.
  • Dog to dog interactions and interactions with other dogs in the household.
  • Has the dog ever bitten anyone?
  • Walking on leash/outdoors.
  • Daily exercise.
  • Would the dog benefit from professional training?

Fire risks

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Smoking – a clear preference will be that no one in your household smokes. If they do, is there a smoking management plan in place to prevent harm to young people where applicable?
  • Are matches and lighters kept out of the range of young children?

Kitchen risks

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Are chip pans used?
  • Are knives kept out of the reach of young children?
  • Are household chemicals kept out of reach of children and young people?
  • Are chest freezers inaccessible to young children?
  • Are kettle cables suitably adjusted and kept away from surface edges?

Bathroom risks

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Is the risk of scalding to children appropriately controlled?
  • Are medicines and razors kept out of the reach of young children?
  • Is there a lock on the bathroom door?

Outside risks

Issues to be considered will include:

  • Are ponds and water features appropriately controlled?
  • Are hazardous garden chemicals kept out of reach of children?
  • Is hazardous gardening equipment kept out of the reach of young children?
  • Are ladders or other access equipment secured?
  • Is garden play equipment appropriate in its design and is it maintained in a safe condition?
  • Is the garden area secure?

Firearms

Issues to be considered will include:

  • If there are firearms in the home, is the appropriate licence held?
  • If there are firearms in the home, are they suitably secured?