Duty to refer

What is it?

This duty to refer places a statutory responsibility on public authorities in England to notify a local housing authority (LHA) of applicants they think may be homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.

Public Authorities with a statutory Duty to Refer

The public authorities specified in the Homelessness Regulations 2018 include:

  • Prisons
  • Youth offender institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social service authorities
  • Emergency departments
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care Agencies signed up to Voluntary Duty to Refer: • Local housing providers
  • Greater Manchester Police

How to refer

If you're concerned about someone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness, complete our online form and we will contact the individual to discuss their situation.

Please ensure you have the individuals consent to notify us.

What information must be included in a referral?

The minimum information referrals to a local authority must include:

  • The applicant's name
  • Applicants contact details
  • The agreed reason for referral e.g. that the applicant is homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • Applicants consent to refer.

Roles and responsibilities

Some public authorities will be required to provide accommodation for certain individuals as part of their own legal duties, e.g. children social services authorities with a duty to accommodate a 16 or 17 year old under the Children Act 1989.

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