We have seen some heart-breaking scenes from Ukraine and the generosity of people across our country to offer their homes to those fleeing the war has been extraordinary.
Local government has a proud history of welcoming new arrivals, stepping forward to offer homes and support so families and individuals can build new lives in the UK. Councils want to both help new arrivals settle as quickly possible and to support communities who wish to offer assistance, in any way they can.
Since the beginning of this humanitarian crisis, the Local Government Association (LGA) and councils have been working closely with the Government to ensure support for new arrivals from Ukraine is put in place quickly and at scale, and families are kept safe, including regular meetings with the minister for refugees and officials.
This engagement with government will continue as we seek further clarity on roles, responsibilities and risks of and for councils, while sharing concerns and issues we are hearing to inform future guidance for both councils and sponsors.
This includes the need for greater clarity on expectations around safeguarding and housing checks, including clearer guidance on next steps if these checks find a match which is not suitable and when sponsor arrangements break down or simply end.
Councils also need advance notice of new arrivals if they have a care, disability or other vulnerabilities, so that local services can help meet specific needs, as well as guidance for lone children arriving in the UK needing support.
This is a fast moving situation and we all have an interest in making sure this scheme works as well as possible, including the need for more information on sponsors who have come forward to host Ukrainian arrivals, so we can ensure a safe and appropriate placement.
By working closely with government, the community and voluntary sector and other key local partners, councils will continue to move at pace and scale to accommodate those who have had to leave their homes and loved ones in the most difficult and dreadful of circumstances.
Cllr James Jamieson is chairman of the LGA