Duty to Refer

Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, there is now a statutory duty for specified public authorities to refer a service user to the local authority housing department if they believe the service user may be homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The public authority bodies which now have a statutory duty to refer are listed below :

  • Prisons
  • young offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentres in England
  • social service authorities (both adult and children's)
  • emergency A&E departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • Secretary of State for defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces.

If you are an organisation not on this list but working with a customer you are worried may be homeless or about to become homeless, please email the housing department for advice at housing-needs@adur-worthing.gov.uk

A service user you are working with may be homeless if:

  • They have no accommodation available to them which they have a legal right to occupy

A service user may be threatened with homelessness if:

  • They are likely to become homeless within 56 days - they may have been asked to leave by family or friends or received a Notice to Quit by their accommodation provider
  • They have been served with a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 by their landlord

It is recommended you discuss with your service user which local authority they would like to be referred to. Although a referral can be sent to any local housing authority in England, it is important to be aware that local housing authorities owe more duties towards homeless applicants who have a local connection to their own area and may refer a duty if accepted to the local authority where they do have a local connection.

Before a referral can be sent your service user must give their consent. This can be oral consent but it would be preferable to have the written consent of the person being referred. Consent is not required where the referral is necessary to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.

If we are not already working with the person you have referred and you have provided the required information, we will contact them within five working days and we will notify you of the outcome of your referral.

How to make the referral

To make the referral to Adur & Worthing Councils' housing department, please complete this form:

and email it to dutytorefer@adur-worthing.gov.uk

Please complete the form with as much detail as possible which will make our contact with the individual more beneficial to them as we will be better able to offer them advice and assistance that meets their particular needs.

If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough, please send an alert to StreetLink. The first time you make a report you will need to register on the site but this is a quick and easy process. The details you provide will be sent to our outreach service to help them find the individual and connect them to support.

For further government guidance about the Duty to Refer please see:

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Page last updated: 10 September 2019