Duty to refer

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This page will provide you with information on the duty to refer.

On this page:

What is the duty to refer?

Under Section 213b of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, specified public agencies must notify a housing authority of customers they consider to be homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days. These agencies are:

  • prison and probation service
  • youth offending institutions and teams
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • job centre plus
  • social services authorities
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in the their function of providing inpatient care

What the duty to refer involves

Reading Borough Council champions early homelessness prevention and early interventions. We go a step further in Reading, promoting the duty to refer mechanism as the single access gateway for fellow professionals, both from statutory and non-statutory organisations. We want to hear from you if you have concerns surrounding your customers’ accommodation, even before they are threatened with homelessness. Be aware of signs which may result in homelessness. These include, but are not limited to:

  • loss of income/benefits
  • debts, including council tax and rent arrears
  • domestic abuse of risk of violence
  • exploitation issues
  • substance misuse
  • physical and mental health factors
  • serious disrepair
  • relationship breakdown
  • serious overcrowding

Before you make a referral, you must:

  • have consent from the customer for the referral to be made
  • allowed the customer to identify the local authority in England where they would like the notification to be made (if this is not Reading please approach the identified local authority directly)
  • have consent from the customer to share their contact details with us, so that we can make contact to discuss this situation

Requesting training for your team

If you would like your teams or any individuals to receive further information, the Homelessness Prevention Team is happy to make arrangements to discuss this with you in more detail. This could range from attending a team meeting, an individual conversation, or more formal training. Regardless of how you would like this information to be delivered, please complete our online form and we will be in touch to arrange this.

Getting in touch with the Homeless Prevention Service

You can contact the Homeless Prevention Service online by filling in an contact form.

Last updated on 30/11/2023