Duty to Refer


The duty to refer homelessness cases to housing authorities - 1 October 2018

Under section 213B the public authorities specified in regulations are required to notify a housing authority of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness (i.e. it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days). Before making a referral a public authority must:

  1. (a) have consent to the referral from the individual;
  2. (b) allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to; and,
  3. (c) have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral.

The duty to refer only applies to public authorities in England and individuals can only be referred to housing authorities in England.

The public authority is not required to carry out a housing needs assessment.

Who it applies to

The public authorities which are subject to the duty to refer are specified in The Homelessness ( Review Procedure etc) Regulations 2018. The Public services included in the duty are as follows:-

  • prisons
  • youth offending
  • secure training centers
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services ( including rehabilitation companies)
  • jobcentre Plus
  • social services authorities
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centers
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care

What we do

Local authorities and partner agencies should work together at the earliest opportunity to agree how the duty to refer will be managed.

Implementation of the s213B duty should include;

  • establishing a single point of contact within the local Authority
  • agreeing a procedure for managing referrals
  • ensuring all referral information is stored securely
  • linking referral information to case files for use in data returns
  • ensuring data can be included in a applicants assessment and/or personalised housing plan
  • communicating the referral process and single point contact to all relevant local agencies
  • ensuring the local authority website includes clear information on the referral procedure
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