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New legislation following Homeless Reduction Act 2017

What is the Duty to Refer?

As of 1st October 2018, specified Public Bodies now have a duty to refer service users they think may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days, as long as they have the consent of that person and the person has identified which Local Housing Authority they would like to be referred to.

This is a new homelessness regulation which is part of the changes made under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Who has a duty to refer?

Public Authorities which have a duty to refer are:

  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Hospital A&E Services
  • Urgent treatment centres
  • Hospitals (in-patient treatment)
  • Social service authorities
  • The Secretary of State for Defence (in relation to members of)
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Marines
  • Army (regular)
  • Royal Air Force
  • Prisons (public and private)
  • Youth Offender Institutions
  • Secure training centres
  • Secure colleges
  • Youth Offending Teams (YOTs)
  • Probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)


Public authorities are not expected to conduct housing needs assessments as part of this process. Public Authorities should adopt a common sense approach, if in doubt, make the referral.

If you need more information, BCC’s website has a useful summary: What is the Duty to Refer?


How to make a referral under duty to refer

To make a referral under Duty to Refer (Birmingham Local Housing Authority) please click on the link below. This is done utilising the Housing Jigsaw system.

Make a referral


What happens Next?

Progress can be tracked by the referrer through the Housing Jigsaw system. All referrers will be notified of the outcome of the referral within 5 working days and the young person will be booked in for a Youth Hub appointment where appropriate within 10 working days.