Duty to refer


Some public authorities in England are required to tell us if any person using their services is likely to become homeless or will be threatened with homelessness within 56 days. However referrals will only be made if the person involved consents to the referral.

Which public authorities have this Duty to Refer?

  • Prisons
  • Hospitals in their function to provide inpatient care
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Social service authorities
  • Emergency Departments
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • The Regular Forces
  • Youth offending institutions

How does the process work?

If a public authority believes that you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days, they will talk to you about making a referral on your behalf under the Duty to Refer. If you agree to a referral being made on your behalf, they will complete an online Partner Referral Form. When deciding which Local Authority to send your form to, it would be advisable to approach a local authority that you have a location connection.

On receiving the referral form, we will contact you to discuss your circumstances. Please note that a referral made by a public authority will not in itself constitute an application for assistance under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended).

Following our discussions with you, we establish what Duty we have towards you and our response will be tailored to your specific needs. In order to achieve the best outcome for you, where possible, we will work with the public authority who referred you.

If you are a public authority wishing to make a referral under the Duty to Refer, please submit the online Partner Referral Form.

Can I approach the Council for assistance on someone else's behalf?

Yes you can. If you are concerned about an individual who is homeless or threatened with homelessness, and you are a family member or friend, we will consider your referral for assistance.

We will consider referrals for assistance from anyone, regardless of whether or not they work for a public authority. If you are working with, or you are concerned about a family member or a friend who is homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days and they consent to you contacting the Council on their behalf, we would encourage you to complete our Partner Referral form. When deciding which Local Authority to send your form to, it would be advisable to approach a local authority with whom they have a location connection.