Duty to refer

Certain public bodies have a legal duty to refer clients they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days to the relevant council. These public bodies are:

  • Prisons
  • Youth offender institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth offender teams
  • Probation
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social Service authorities
  • A&E Departments
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Hospitals providing inpatient care

Before a referral can be made, the individual must have given their consent for the referral, stated which council they want the referral sent to and given permission for their personal data to be shared.

If you work for one of these public bodies and become aware of a homeless person, please make sure you get their consent before making a referral.

Please register your agency as a user of ALERT to make a referral. Once registered you will be able to submit referrals and also see when those referrals have been considered by the council you have sent them to.

Once we receive a referral, we will contact the client and book an appointment for them to come in to get advice about their housing options.   

A guide on the duty to refer.

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