Ukrainian refugee families could get host who failed DBS check, says council

Ukrainian families could potentially be housed with a host who has failed a DBS check, a council has warned, as the government’s Homes for Ucraina scheme continues to face a range of problems.

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check allows employers or other bodies to check the criminal record of someone applying for a role.

William Benson, chief executive of Tunbridge Wells borough council, said that if a host failed a DBS check, or their home was deemed unsuitable for the scheme, they would not necessarily be prevented from hosting a Ukrainian refugee as these two processes “run parallel to each other”.

He added that refugees were matched to hosts before the DBS check process began.

Benson said: “One of the big outstanding issues is that we do not yet know what we do if a host fails a DBS, or a house check. So under what power do we remove someone who has had a pretty traumatic experience coming over here?

“There is a potential that a guest is on their way, or has arrived, to be hosted in a house that we don’t believe is suitable.”

After a Ukrainian refugee is matched with a host, Kent county council performs the DBS check and Tunbridge Wells borough council performs the check to see whether the house is suitable.

Ma, according to Benson, because they are “separate processes, it is entirely possible that the guests could have had their visa approved and have arrived in a home that we don’t believe is suitable”.

Benson has called for more guidance from central government on what to do in such potential cases.

Kent county council has also expressed concern regarding the lack of provision made for people coming to the UK through the Ukraine family scheme, which allows applicants to join immediate family members based in the UK, rather than through Homes for Ukraine.

“We still retain concern about the operation of the family scheme,” said Roger Gough, the leader of Kent county council.

“On one side, regarding the Homes for Ukraine scheme, there is clarity of how it should work, and there is government funding. On the side of those coming via the family route, there is nothing.

“And equally, it is also not clear what happens if those relationships break down and people come into the system needing rematching.”

According to Gough, there have been instances of family breakdowns and of Ukrainians coming to the UK through the families scheme and later presenting to the council as homeless.

In one particular case, a person who occupied a room in a shared house signed up to host four people under the family scheme, who then had to be rehoused due to the unsuitability of the accommodation.

Kent has seen about 7,000 households register interest in becoming a host under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and, of these, 1,104 have been matched with Ukrainian refugees so far.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme has faced many problems since its launch. Most recently the government had to rehouse hundreds of Ukrainians granted visas because the people they were supposed to stay with had been deemed “unsuitable”.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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