Duty to refer

What is the 'Duty to refer'?

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

What constitutes 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.
  • When making a referral, ensure all information is provided including consent

Public authorities role 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.

*Referral process 

*Please note if you require emergency assistance outside of office hours please call 0161 253 6606

Complete a referral to the Housing Assessment Team

Contact for Housing Assessment Team – Housing Advice & Homelessness