Office for National Statistics written evidence submissions to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Homes for Ukraine

Dear Dame Meg Hillier,

I write in response to the Public Accounts Committee’s call for evidence for their inquiry into Homes for Ukraine.

As the Committee will be aware, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s National Statistical Institute and largest producer of official statistics. We aim to provide a firm evidence base for sound decisions and develop the role of official statistics in democratic debate. This submission provides evidence from our Homes for Ukraine Survey, which we hope will be of assistance to the inquiry.

Evidence in this submission includes information on receipt of ‘thank you’ payments and the cost-of-living pressures on ability to provide support. Data on hosting duration and intended length of hosting shows that many hosts are providing longer-term accommodation, not just short-term emergency housing. While supporting guests search for their own accommodation, many hosts have experienced difficulties related to unaffordability of housing and lack of a guarantor. Satisfaction with support provided on the scheme to sponsors is quite high but over half have still found hosting challenging.

Background to the Survey

The ONS established the Homes for Ukraine Survey to address a lack of data about the characteristics, motivations, and attitudes of scheme hosts. This complements administrative data available from the Home Office, including arrival numbers. The ONS worked closely with the Home Office and the Department for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to ensure delivery of timely and relevant analysis on this subject. ONS has consulted and shared its analysis with departments across government.

There have been three ONS-funded sponsor surveys collecting information from registered sponsors:

  • Survey 1 collected information 7 to 14 July 2022 (around 4 months since the scheme launched) from sponsors registered by 7 July 2022. It captured fundamental information from 17,702 sponsors early in the scheme.
  • Survey 2 collected information 21 to 28 November 2022 from 8,770 sponsors recontacted around 4 months since their first survey, with many approaching the end of the initial 6-month hosting period. This followed-up with sponsors to capture changing experiences, focus deeper on urgent issues, and inform evolving policy needs.
  • Survey 3 – collected information 10 to 21 August 2023 from sponsors registered by 8 August 2023. This captured information from 14,851 sponsors, some of whom had been surveyed before.

Analysis of the experiences of displaced Ukrainians who have entered the UK under the Ukrainian Humanitarian Schemes is published in the UK Humanitarian Response Insight Survey series. Generally, this analysis does not distinguish between type of visa scheme so is not included in this written evidence unless specified otherwise.

Most of the evidence presented in this submission is from the most up-to-date sponsor survey, Survey 3 (10 to 21 August 2023). Reference is made to previous surveys only where specified.

Funding provided for the scheme

Sponsors are eligible for a monthly payment from the UK government as a thank you for hosting and some English councils offer discretionary payments to ‘top-up’ thank you payments.

Payments to sponsors – monthly “thank you” payments

Data collected from Survey 3 showed 88% of current hosts reported having received ‘thank you’ payments; 67% received these on time and 21% had received payments but some monthly instalments were either late or missing. Some had not received payments (12%), but for most this was because the first payment was not yet due (5%).

After guests have been hosted in the UK for more than 12 months, monthly ‘thank you’ payments increase from £350 to £500. The following estimates on this page refer to data collected from hosts from Survey 3 in England only.

Most (72%) current hosts were aware of the increase in ‘thank you’ payments. Around 6 in 10 current hosts (64%) strongly or somewhat agree that this increase in payments encouraged them to host for longer. The majority (78%) are very or fairly satisfied with the engagement on the ‘thank you’ payments with their local council since their guests moved in.

Payments to sponsors – top-up “thank you” payments

Data collected from Survey 3, showed nearly half of current hosts in England (46%) received a discretionary top up payment from their local council. Over half (58%) of these said that this has incentivised them to continue hosting.

The English region with the highest proportion of current hosts who had received discretionary top up payments is the South East (66%), compared with the lowest proportion in the North East (9%).

Challenges and future risks

Sponsors are asked to host their Ukrainian guests for a minimum of 6 months. Early on there was some concern among members of the cross-government Russia-Ukraine Analysis Group (RUAG) that after 6 months many sponsors could stop hosting, causing Ukrainian guests to require alternative accommodation. However, data provided from the most recent and previous surveys suggested this risk was lower than first thought.

Hosting duration

Data collected from Survey 3 showed that most hosts (58%) were providing longer-term accommodation until their guests find alternative accommodation and 37% of hosts were providing more permanent accommodation. Only 3% described their hosting arrangement as short-term emergency accommodation.

Analysis from the UK Humanitarian Response Insight Survey (27 April to 15 May 2023) found most adults on the Homes for Ukraine scheme were very or fairly satisfied with their current accommodation (92%). This compares with 87% of adults on the Ukraine Family scheme.

Data collected in Survey 3 showed almost half (48%) of current hosts had been providing accommodation for guests for 12 months or more. Almost a third (31%) had been providing accommodation between 6 and 12 months. A similar proportion of current hosts had been providing accommodation for 3 to 6 months (10%) and less than 3 months (11%).

Hosting intentions

Analysis of data collected from Survey 3 revealed variation in how long current hosts intend to provide accommodation in total. Just over half (51%) reported 18 months or more, compared with 5% who intended to host for less than 6 months.

For the 5% of current hosts who intend for their current hosting arrangement to last under 6 months, the most common reason reported for the length of time was that they only intended to provide sponsorship for this period (25%).

For the 51% of current hosts who intend the current hosting arrangements to last 18 months or more, the most common reason reported for the length of time was that sponsors have built a strong relationship with the guests (67%).

An increase in value of monthly ‘thank you’ payments (54%) would encourage current hosts to continue to provide accommodation beyond their current intended period. However, 1 in 10 current hosts reported that “nothing” would encourage them to host for longer (10%).

Of those who don’t know how long they intend their current hosting arrangement to last (19%), the majority (72%) reported it was because they are unsure what their guests will want to do. Other reasons include needing more information on how extending sponsorship will work (24%).

Challenges helping guests access alternative accommodation

Data collected from Survey 3 showed that of those who are currently hosting guests and have helped them look for private rented accommodation, the majority (69%) reported experiencing barriers during the search. The most common barriers were that “Guests cannot afford to rent privately” (66%) and “Guests cannot provide a guarantor” (50%).

When asked what support they think guests need to help them move into private rented accommodation, or to find independent living arrangements, the most common types of support reported by sponsors were:

  • General information on how to rent in the UK (77%)
  • Financial support (77%)
  • Employment support (66%)

Difficulties experienced during scheme involvement

Current hosts were asked whether they experienced any difficulties during their involvement in the scheme. Data collected in Survey 3 showed that around 7 in 10 (72%) of hosts reported experiencing difficulties.

The difficulty most reported was uncertainty about what will happen to guests after sponsorship ends (38%), followed by difficulties when helping guests with visa applications (25%) and then sponsor application difficulties (19%).

Of the 15% of current hosts who reported difficulties helping guests register with GPs or NHS services, the most common difficulties experienced were the “availability of local services” (74%) and “appointment wait times” (35%).

Interpersonal challenges between guests and hosts

Data collected from Survey 3 showed almost 6 in 10 (58%) current hosts found aspects of hosting challenging.

A quarter (25%) of current hosts reported language barriers as a hosting challenge. Cultural differences between themselves and their guests (16%) and sharing a living space (15%) also made hosting challenging.

Satisfaction with scheme support

Data collected from Survey 3 showed that, of current hosts, previous hosts or those who have guests due to move in, over 6 in 10 (66%) are very or fairly satisfied with the overall support they were offered as a sponsor.

Data collected from Survey 2 suggests just over half of sponsors involved in the scheme were very or fairly satisfied with the management of the scheme (53%) and the communications for the scheme (52%)

Data collected from Survey 3 showed around 6 in 10 sponsors (59%) found accessing information or support regarding the Homes for Ukraine scheme very or fairly easy. This increased from 45% reported in Survey 2 data.

Data collected from Survey 3 showed of current hosts, previous hosts and those who have guests due to move in, most (91%) thought additional support would be useful for sponsors or hosts.

The types of additional support which they reported would be useful included:

  • support with helping guests find employment (46%),
  • support with administrative tasks for guests (45%)
  • support with helping guests find their own accommodation (42%).

Cost of living pressures

Data collected from Survey 3 showed the majority (67%) of current hosts said that the rising cost of living is affecting their ability to provide support.

The most reported additional costs incurred for current hosts were utility costs, such as the cost of fixing things around the property (85%), food costs (46%) and transport costs (45%).

We hope this submission is useful for the Committee’s inquiry. Please let us know if we can provide anything further.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Keoghan

Deputy National Statistician for Economic, Social and Environmental Statistics

Office for National Statistics correspondence with the Public Accounts Committee on use of evaluation and modelling in government

Dear Dame Meg,

I wanted to write in my role as Head of the Government Analysis Function regarding your Committee’s report and the subsequent Government response on Use of evaluation and modelling in government. For recommendation 5b, we gave a target implementation date of summer 2022. This was in error: it should have said summer 2023. We have revised this target implementation date in the latest progress update due to your Committee also.

Please do let me know if any questions.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Office for National Statistics response to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on the effectiveness of Official Development Assistance expenditure

Dear Ms Hillier,

I write to offer the Office for National Statistics (ONS) response to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on ‘The effectiveness of Official Development Assistance expenditure’.

The Committee made one recommendation to the ONS:

“All ODA spending departments should report back to us in 6 months’ time on the extent to which they will increase the proportion of their ODA-funded programmes that use performance measures based on impacts and outcomes.”

With apologies for the delay in our response, the ONS has been allocated around £300k of ODA directly from HM Treasury and we also receive a much larger grant (£2.7m in this year) from the FCDO (previously DFID). We have established robust M&E processes for our ODA eligible work and use performance measures based on impacts and outcomes to report to FCDO. Our latest annual review will be published by FCDO on DevTracker in September.

We do not specifically and separately monitor the impact of the £300k, as it pays for some of the administration which complements and supports the FCDO funded work. We are hoping for increased ODA funding from HMT in SR20, to use our now established M&E approaches to ensure that we monitor outcomes and impacts for all ODA funded work and report these transparently.

Please do let me know if you have any further questions, and we will be happy to keep the Committee updated on our progress.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Office for Statistics Regulation written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into Digital Transformation in the NHS

Dear Meg,

I write in response to the Public Accounts Committee’s call for evidence for the inquiry considering Digital Transformation in the NHS.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is the independent regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. We provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK, including those in Devolved Nations and the NHS. Our regulatory work is underpinned by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

We set the standards official statistics must meet through the statutory Code of Practice for Statistics. We ensure that producers of official statistics uphold these standards by conducting assessments against the Code. Those which meet the standards are given National Statistics status, indicating that they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality, and value. We also report publicly on system-wide issues and on the way statistics are being used, celebrating when the standards are upheld and challenging publicly when they are not.

Statistics published by public sector bodies should be produced in a trustworthy way, be of high quality, and provide value by informing answers to society’s important questions. As the regulator of official statistics in the UK, our view is that good quality, granular electronic data is the bedrock for developing statistics that serve the public good. We support and share the ambition of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to digitally transform the NHS to enable more effective data sharing between health and social care organisations; but recognise the enormity and complexity of the task. Through our own work, we understand the challenges faced by DHSC and in our view there are many foundations which need to be addressed in order to implement this ambition.

This submission outlines some of the challenges faced in the NHS for digital transformation that we can identify with from our own work:

  • Data harmonisation
  • Data linkage
  • Digital skills in workforce
  • Fragmentation between health care and social care in England

I look forward to seeing the conclusions of your inquiry. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely,





Joined-up data and data linkage


  1. From our analysis and the knowledge we have sought about health and social care statistics users’ needs through our regulatory work, we know there is a huge appetite for joined-up statistics that paint a more complete picture of people’s journeys through the different parts of the health and social care system.
  2. To optimise the benefits that information technology can bring in painting that picture, those responsible for health and social care data should find more efficient and effective ways to legally share data across organisational boundaries, not just for operational or client/patient care reasons, but for research and statistical purposes too. In 2017, we launched a review of the UK statistics system’s ability to provide greater insight to users via data linkage. Our timing was in part prompted by a desire to take stock of the landscape before the new data sharing provisions for statistics and research, introduced by the Digital Economy Act (2017) (DEA), were implemented. Our desired outcome is for data linkage to be widely used to answer society’s important questions in a timely manner.
  3. Our latest update published in 2019 for the Joining up Data for Better Statistics[1] review found that although data linkage should be a vital part of the official statistics landscape, value is being squandered because for the most part this is not the case. There are some powerful examples of data linkage being used in government to provide insights and drive policy change, but these are the exception and we are concerned that the time and effort required to create linked data resources can discourage others seeking to do similar work.
  4. In improving its digital infrastructure, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) needs to ensure that NHS systems facilitate quick and efficient data sharing and linkage.


Digital skills of the workforce


  1. The culture of healthcare and social care settings, that primarily rely on face-to-face techniques to examine and care for people, means that staff will need to be involved in the design and development of new software, and be trained in its implementation.
  2. The charity doteveryone carried out research to understand the current impact of technology in the social care system and its potential to shape the future. As part of their findings published in the report Better Care in the Age of Automation[2], they recognise that people need skilled helpand flexibility for technology to work for them, and a culture of suspicion and fear inhibits people from taking advantage of new innovations. As well as recommending long-term investment in better data to support a more sustainable and fair system, they also recommend the establishment of a Royal College of Carers. This new organisation would provide the resource and professionalism to supplement existing skills of carers and support the use of any new technologies in the sector.
  3. In improving the digital infrastructure of the NHS, DHSC needs to ensure users of any new technology are suitably involved and trained in any implementation across the NHS.


Imbalance between health care and social care


  1. The existing fragmentation between health care and social care in England exacerbates the challenge of digitalisation in the NHS. Adult social care is a large and important area which requires strong evidence to support effective policy development, delivery of care and personal choice. Our recent review of adult social care statistics in England[3] found that this sector is poorly served by data. Scarcity in funding has led to under investment in data and analysis, making it harder for individuals and organisations to make informed decisions. The lack of investment, resourcing and collaboration has led to an imbalance in the quality and value of the statistics when compared with those in the health care sector.
  2. Our review highlighted three main areas for attention:
  • Better leadership and collaboration across the many different organisations involved in the process of publishing official statistics on social care, that enables working across boundaries to join-up government departments, local authorities and between public and private sector providers.
  • Gaps in available data as most information available comes from local authorities with responsibilities for adult social services and does not cover private household expenditure, privately funded care or the value of unpaid care causing limited knowledge of individuals care journeys and outcomes.
  • Improving existing official statistics through accessibility, coherence, quality, timeliness, and granularity of the data to provide insight and allow existing data to better meet user needs.
  1. In line with the introduction of new technologies to assist healthcare[4], we want to see progress made with proposed infrastructure that will support the integration of health and social care data so that there is a better understanding of the interaction between health and care and an individual’s experience. We welcome plans set out in the Government’s vision for digital, data and technology in health and care[5]. We hope the establishment of NHSX, a body to ‘progress digital transformation of the NHS’, will allow government to deliver on this ambition while considering data needs. There is also potential for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to support the sector through innovative approaches to data analysis, such as data linking, and use of provisions in the DEA.
  2. The autonomy of health and social care data as separate entities not only is apparent in official statistics and public policy, but also in other ways. The digital capability of the social care sector to effectively embed any technological solutions has also been questioned, as highlighted in the NAO report ‘Digital Transformation in the NHS: ‘practices had more mature arrangements in place for sharing electronic patient records with other healthcare providers in their area than they had with social care providers’. This is also reflected amongst adult social care providers, with the Care Quality Commission reporting challenges faced by adult social care providers in adopting digital technology. Further research by doteveryone Better Evidence for Better Care[6] also suggest that there is not enough evidence available for commissioners and providers to effectively implement new technology into social care services.
  3. To improve the digitalisation of the NHS, DHSC needs to fully understand the barriers and challenges faced in the social care sector. We will continue to work with a range of organisations to make the case for improvements to social care statistics.


Data harmonisation


  1. In our view, the most significant long-term solution to improve the coverage and quality of health and social care statistics is the transformation of social care data collection and analysis, bringing them onto a par with hospital data. NHSX was set up in 2019, and encouragingly steps are being taken by some regions of England to pilot a single health and social care record. A single patient record would enable end-to-end analysis of the patient journey and experience of services across the NHS and more widely. It would improve the care for people, particularly for those with multiple long-term conditions in the care of separate specialist teams, and the use of data and technology to achieve this is key.
  2. Patient-level data that straddles organisational boundaries (such as health/social care or hospital/care home) also needs to have agreed definitions and standards and should harmonise more widely with other data collections e.g. the Census. This is the basis upon which good quality statistics can be developed.



[1] Joining Up Data for Better Statistics – 2019 update

[2] doteveryone – Better Care in the Age of Automation, September 2019

[3] Office for Statistics Regulation – Report on Adult Social Care statistics in England, January 2020

[4] Government Technology Innovation Strategy, June 2019

[5] The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care, October 2018

[6] doteveryone – Better Evidence for Better Care, 2019