Duty to Refer

Duty to refer helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Certain public authorities have a legal duty refer people to us, so they can access our homelessness services, as set out under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Under the act these public authorities must refer people to us who are:

  • homeless
  • at risk of homelessness within 56 days (8 weeks)

Who has a duty to refer

Public authorities with a duty to refer include:

  • prisons and youth offender institutions
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services including community rehabilitation companies
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • social services
  • hospitals including emergency departments and urgent treatment centres 

The Ministry of Defence have a duty to refer members of the regular forces. The regular forces are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.

If your agency is not listed you can still refer people to us providing they agree to be referred.

Local connection

A person can choose which local housing authority to be referred to. 

However it is advisable for them to choose a local authority with which they have a local connection.

A person is likely to have a local connection to an area if they:

  • live or have lived there
  • work there
  • have close family nearby 

People should not be referred to an area where they would be at risk of violence.

Make a referral

Before you make a referral you should make sure the person is:

  • homeless
  • being threatened with homelessness within 56 days (8 weeks)

You must also make sure the person consents to be referred to us and not another council in England, and consents to be contacted by us.

To make a referral:

If you would like to discuss the case in more detail contact the HomeChoice team by phone on 01454 865496, Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm.

If the person is homeless today you should phone 01454 865496, or visit the Civic Centre, High St, Kingswood, BS15 9TR, Monday to Friday 9am to 12.30pm.

What happens next

We aim to respond within 3 working days.

The HomeChoice team will contact the person you have referred and offer appropriate help and advice.