Duty to refer for public authorities

From 1 October 2018, certain specified public authorities are legally required (per section 213B of the Housing Act 1996) to notify a local housing authority (LHA) of service users that they think could be at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.

Who the duty applies to

The public authorities that this duty applies to are:

  • prisons
  • youth offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • social service authorities
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • The Secretary of State for Defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces.

Before making a referral

Before making a referral a public authority must:

  • have consent to the referral from the individual
  • allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to
  • have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral.

Please note that, whilst you can request to be referred to any LHA within England, if you don't have a local connection to the LHA you are referred to, then in certain circumstances your homeless application may be referred to another LHA where you do have a connection.

Referring agencies may wish to carefully explore with individuals which LHA might be most appropriate to make a referral to.

How to make a referral

A public authority can make a referral to us by completing and submitting the referral form.

After a referral is made

Once we receive a referral, our Housing Options Service will contact the individual referred in order to undertake an assessment with you to determine what homeless duties you could be owed.

If you have any queries regarding the referral duty then please contact us by emailing housing@medway.gov.uk, or phoning 01634 332 277.