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Duty to refer

Making a referral - Advice for partners  (professionals only) 

From 1st October 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act introduced a new requirement on specified public authorities in England to tell councils about anyone that they think may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within the next 56 days.  

Which public authorities have the duty to refer? 

  • prisons 

  • youth offender institutions 

  • secure training centres 

  • secure colleges 

  • youth offending teams 

  • probation services, (community rehabilitation companies and national probation service); 

  • Jobcentre Plus 

  • social service authorities 

  • Accident and emergency services provided in a hospital  

  • Urgent treatment centres (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.) 

The Housing Options Service will work closely with the named public bodies under the Duty to Refer. It is paramount that partners notify us of people experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home from an earlier stage. The Housing Options Service will work with the service users being referred to resolve their housing matter. 

The above public bodies can refer details of any person they are aware of who is homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days, via the Duty to Refer ALERT portal.  

If public bodies are unable to access the portal, they can complete and send the Duty to Refer form to dutytorefer@towerhamlets.gov.uk  

Please be aware that the consent of the individual you are referring must be sought prior to making a referral. 

Your client may want to use our Housing Options Finder tool to see what other options may be available  - the sooner options are known, the sooner they can take the action that are  right for them.