The Duty to Refer becomes a legal obligation from 1st October 2018, as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. It places a duty on organisations such as prisons, hospitals and social services teams to notify the local housing authority in advance of a client becoming homeless from their service.
Its aim is to provide the local housing authority with the opportunity for early intervention & engagement with the client. This maximises the amount of time that housing authorities have to help secure accommodation to prevent the client becoming homeless on their release/departure date.
A full list of the organisations that will have this new Duty to Refer from October 2018 is as follows:
- young offender institutions
- secure training centres
- secure colleges
- youth offending teams
- probation services (NPS & CRC)
- Job Centres in England
- social service authorities (both Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care)
- emergency (A&E) departments
- urgent treatment centres
- hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care (including mental health)
- Secretary of State for Defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces
More information about the Duty to Refer can be found on the government website.