In April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force in England. One of the duties in the Act is the Duty to Refer (s10 213b) which comes into effect from 1 October 2018.The duty places an obligation on specified public authorities to notify the relevant local authority of people they consider may be at risk of homelessness within 56 days. This means a person’s housing situation must be considered whenever they come into contact with a wider public service. The aim of the change is to intervene at an earlier stage when a person is at risk of becoming homeless and give meaningful assistance to someone who may not yet have made contact with a housing service.
Before making a referral, the referring organisation must have the consent of the person to make the referral and consent to share their contact details with that authority. The person should also be asked to identify the local housing authority in England that they wish to be referred to. It is worth noting that although a person can request a referral to any local authority if they do not have a *local connection to that local authority then they are likely to be referred back to a local authority where they do have a local connection.
*Local Connection Guidance –
s199 (1) of the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 provides that a person has a local connection with the district of a local housing authority if they are:
(a) Normally resident there and have been for 6 months out of the last 12 months, or three years out of the last five years. Or
(b) They are employed in that local authority. Or
(c) They have close family living in that authority i.e. mother father, brother, sister who have been living there for last 5 years
The public services included in the Duty to Refer are as follows:
- Prisons (public and contracted out)
- Youth offender institutions
- Secure training centres (public and contracted out) secure colleges
- Youth offending teams
- Probation services (community rehabilitation companies and national probation service)
- Jobcentre plus
- Accident and emergency services provided in a hospital urgent treatment centres
- Hospitals in their capacity of providing in-patient treatment social service authorities
- Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the Duty to Refer in relation to members of the regular forces.
Although the duty only applies to public authorities, Solihull Council welcomes referrals from any public authority not listed above or from other agencies.
Making a referral to Solihull
Please go to Housing Jigsaw ALERT to register for your free alert account as a specified public body or wider agency.
What is ALERT?
ALERT is an on line tool to assist local authorities in England and Wales. It supports partnership working by providing a secure and easy to use platform for making referrals and receiving notifications.
How does it work?
Using ALERT is easy, you can sign up in minutes and start making referrals immediately. Just follow these three easy steps.
1. Sign up to ALERT and fill in your referring agency details to start the registration process, click register, you will then be asked for your name and email address. You will then be sent an activation link asking you to set up your password. You must do this within 24 hours or the link will expire.
2. Fill in basic information about the person you are referring including any identified support needs
3. Complete the declaration form, click submit and receive confirmation that your referral has been received.
Note – Please be aware that if you are working with a homeless person out of office hours i.e. 9am to 5pm that requires immediate assistance please contact our out of hours service on 0121 717 1515. During office hours you should also contact on 0121 717 1515 if the homeless person requires accommodation that night as we may not pick up the referral till the following day.