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MP raises BASW's safeguarding concerns in House of Commons during Ukraine debate

BASW briefed MPs ahead of the debate, expressing our concerns that the lack of Government-run matching scheme will result in safeguarding risks due to a lack of rigorous checks on the host

During a general debate on Ukraine in the House of Commons on 25th May, Alyn Smith MP raised the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the safeguarding concerns that BASW has been raising for the past three months. 

BASW briefed MPs ahead of the debate, expressing our concerns that the lack of Government-run matching scheme will result in safeguarding risks due to a lack of rigorous checks on the host. The key messages we shared with MPs were:

  1. The social work profession has been outspoken about the potential risks associated with the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, such as trafficking and abuse, and we are gravely concerned that these risks are now becoming a reality.
  2. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) wrote to Michael Gove on 6th April about our concerns about risks and safeguarding, and we have yet to receive a response.
  3. While the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has resulted in much generosity from British public, the Government must never waive rigorous safeguarding checks. Safeguarding is not an optional add-on. Failure to safeguard is not simply an ethical issue, it is a false economy since hosting arrangements collapse, and new hosting arrangements need to be identified. 
  4. An effective Homes for Ukraine Scheme would have a government portal to match Ukrainians with UK hosts and undertake basic screening and would ensure hard pressed local authorities are properly funded to meet this humanitarian responsibility.  

Speaking in the debate, Alyn Smith MP said: "On the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the British Association of Social Workers has drawn concerns to all our attention in its useful brief, which highlights in particular the risks in the safeguarding of refugees and the proper checks that must be run on potential host families. 

"Safeguarding is not an optional add-on. Failure to safeguard is not simply an ethical issue; it is a false economy, because when hosting arrangements collapse, new hosting arrangements need to be identified.

"I have made my position on the Homes for Ukraine scheme clear, but let us ensure that it works and that it does what it claims. The association also makes the point.

“An effective Homes for Ukraine Scheme would have a government portal to match Ukrainians with UK hosts and undertake basic screening and would ensure hard pressed local authorities are properly funded to meet this humanitarian responsibility. I strongly endorse that and would be grateful for a response from the Minister. That seems like a sensible addition to the scheme."

BASW will keep campaigning to make sure politicians know that safeguarding is not an optional add-on. Safeguarding should be a key concern in every aspect of public policy.