Duty to Refer

The Duty to Refer applies to specified public authorities who can refer service users they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authority housing services (see paragraph 7 of the Homelessness code of guidance). The list of public authorities set out below.

Making a referral to Broxbourne Council

Before a referral is made the service user’s consent must be obtained*. Please ensure that the service user understands the purpose of the referral, and consents to information and contact details being passed on to Broxbourne Council. (*Referrals without consent may be made in order to safeguard children or vulnerable adults, in accordance with local procedures.)

It is advisable to obtain the service user’s written consent to a referral being made, however oral consent is acceptable. Consent should be informed, taking into account circumstances where the service user would not benefit from a referral being made, e.g. because the service user already has an open application for assistance from Broxbourne Council. Public authorities are advised to record on the service user’s records if a referral has been made, and if consent to a referral is refused.

Please download and complete Broxboune Council's Duty to Refer form, available on this link, which contains space for you to indicate whether and how service user consent has been obtained.

Complete Duty to Refer forms should be emailed to: dutytorefer@broxbourne.gov.uk

Public authorities with a duty to refer

The specified public authorities (see the Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018) subject to the Duty to Refer are:

  • 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 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

The Duty to Refer only applies to the specified public authorities listed above in England and individuals can only be referred to a local housing authority in England (see paragraph 4.2 of the Homelessness code of guidance).

A public authority that is not subject to the Duty to Refer may still, with the service user’s consent, refer the service user to a local housing authority.

Further guidance on the Duty to Refer can be found here.