Duty to Refer

Under Section 213b of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, specified public authorities are required to notify a housing authority of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. S213b Duty to Refer came into effect on 1st October 2018.

If you represent one of the below public authorities, you are subject to the Duty to Refer:

  • Prisons
  • Youth offender institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offending teams
  • Probation services (including Community Rehabilitation Companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social services authorities
  • Emergency departments
  • Urgent treatment centres: and
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care

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, even before your service user is threatened with losing their home within 56 days, as long there are any tenancy concerns or factors that may lead onto homelessness. Please do not wait until your customer is served with a notice, contact us if you have any concerns regarding potential homelessness.

Factors and circumstances that may lead onto homelessness include loss of income/benefits, various debts, domestic abuse or risk of violence, exploitation issues, substance misuse, physical and mental health factors, serious disrepair issues, relationship breakdowns and serious overcrowding, amongst others.  We want to hear from you before they worsen and become a real threat of homelessness.

Before making a referral, you must:

  • have consent for the referral from the individual
  • allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made (then approach that local authority with the Duty To Refer information); and
  • have consent from the individual to share their contact details with local authority, so the individual can be contacted regarding the referral

Securely refer your service user into Homelessness Prevention Service