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Duty to refer

Guidance for referrals to the council for housing support.

Guidance for public authorities wishing to refer to our Housing Solutions Service

Under section 213b of the Housing Act 1996 specified public authorities are (from the 1st October 2018) required to notify a housing authority of service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness (i.e. it is likely they will become homeless within 56 days).

If the service user consented to a referral, the public authority will be required to make the referral, notifying the identified Local Housing Authority of the reason for the referral and how the service user may be contacted.

What a public authority must do before making a referral

  1. Have consent to the referral from the service user.
  2. Allow the service user to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to.
  3. Have consent from the service user that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral

Where the duty applies

  • prisons
  • Youth Offender institutions
  • Secure Training Centres
  • Secure Colleges
  • Youth Offending teams
  • Probation Services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Social Service authorities
  • Emergency Departments
  • Urgent Treatment Centres
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care

How to make a referral to Westminster Housing Solutions Service

In an emergency always call 999, for non-emergency police call 101. Alternatively you can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline if you believe a service user is at risk. 

Freephone: 0808 2000 247

To make a referral visit the link below.

Make a referral

The Housing Solutions Service will then make contact with the individual you have referred and offer appropriate advice and assistance.

Note that a referral made under s213b does not count as a homeless application.

Published: 7 January 2021

Last updated: 13 September 2023