Duty to Refer

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a new duty on specified public bodies in England to refer consenting people they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a Council’s Housing Options Service (for example, it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days).

The duty applies to a range of public bodies as listed below:

  • Social Services Authorities (Adult’s and Children’s Social Care)
  • NHS Services - A&E Services and Urgent Treatment Centres (Walk-in Centre)
  • NHS Services – hospitals (when providing in-patient care)
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Prisons (public and private)
  • Probation Services (including Community Rehabilitation Companies)
  • Youth offender institutions
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Secure Colleges and Training Centres
  • The Secretary of State for Defence (in relation to members of Royal Navy, Royal Marine, Army (Regular) and Royal Air Force)

It is important that these organisations make these referrals to us so that we can prevent and relieve homelessness effectively.

The statutory duty came into effect on 1 October 2018.


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 and,
  • have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the Housing Authority can contact them regarding the referral

How to make a referral

Complete the referral form

If you are unable to complete an online application form, please email details to dutytorefer@redbridge.gov.uk

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