Duty to refer homeless cases

Important Information

In April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act came info force in England. One of the duties in the Act, is the duty to refer which comes into effect in October 2018. The duty places an obligation on specified public authorities to notify the relevant local authority of people they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.

Before making a referral, the referring organisation must have the consent of the person to make the referral and consent to share their contact details with that authority. The person should also be asked to identify the local housing authority in England they wish to be referred to.

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

The public services included in the duty to refer are as follows:

  • prisons
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social Services Authorities
  • Hospitals (A&E, urgent care centres, inpatient wards)

Although the duty only applies to public authorities, the Council welcomes referrals from any public authority not listed above or from third sector, community or voluntary organisations.

If you are an individual who is homeless or threatened with homelessness, please do not use the referral form. Please contact the Homelessness Advice & Prevention Team directly on 01695 585 222 or 01695 585 223.

How to make a referral

Referrals can be submitted via Housing Jigsaw ALERT (external link)

If your organisation is not able to use ALERT, referrals can be made by email to dutytorefer@westlancs.gov.uk