The responsibility for assessing and approving applications from community groups and managing the community sponsorship process lies with the Home Office. However, local authorities have an important role to play in the process, and local authority consent is required for each community sponsorship arrangement in their area – at two stages, as set out below. This is to allow local authorities to consider the local impacts of additional resettled families, such as on local services and capacity, and to give local authorities a mechanism by which to raise any objections they might have to the sponsor group proposing to support a resettled family.
In summary, local authorities can support community groups by:
-Putting groups in contact with the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to advise on the group’s safeguarding policy;
-Arranging an inspection of the proposed accommodation;
-Supporting engagement of relevant partners in line with the sponsor’s resettlement plan, e.g. police, Job Centres, Prevent etc;
-Supporting groups through schools admissions process;
-Providing local authority consent that the group can operate as a community sponsor in the area
-After approval of the group by the Home Office, agree that the group can accept the refugee family
The Home Office have produced guidance for Local Authorities.
Reset are able to offer advice and support to Local Authorities who are exploring how to give consent to Community Sponsorship Groups in their area.
The Home Office and Reset have produced a Local Authority Toolkit to guide local authorities through the community sponsorship process.
If you are a Local Authority in the North West you can contact us for further advice, our Resettlement Lead will always be happy to help.