Homeless or at risk

Duty to refer

If you are a statutory agency with a ‘Duty to refer’ under the Homeless Reduction Act, please email: dutytorefer@slough.gov.uk for more details on making a referral and a link to ‘ALERT’.

What is the duty to refer?

The Homeless Reduction Act introduces a new duty to refer requiring specified public authorities in England to notify LHAs of service users they think may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless in 56 days. The public authority must have consent from the individual before referring them and the individual should identify which LHA they would like to be referred to, as they would if approaching a housing authority directly.

Which public authorities have the duty to refer?

From October 2018, the following services will be required to refer service users they consider may be homeless or at risk:

  • prisons (public and private)
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (community rehabilitation companies and national probation service)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • accident and emergency services provided in a hospital
  • urgent treatment centres (include services locally designated as such, and all other providers of community and primary urgent care, including services locally designated as urgent care centres, minor injury units, minor injury services and walk in centres)
  • hospitals in their capacity of providing in-patient treatment (Inpatient care means persons who are receiving medical or other treatment as inpatients (admitted patients) in a hospital), and
  • social service authorities.

The Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the duty to refer in relation to members of the regular forces. The regular forces are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.