Duty to refer

Refer someone to us

What is the 'Duty to refer'?

This has been introduced by the Homelessness Reduction Act from 1 October 2018. The duty to refer places a statutory responsibility on public authorities in England to notify a local housing authority of applicants they think may be homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days.

What are Public Authorities?

The public authorities specified in the Homelessness Regulations 2018 include:

  • 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
  • The Secretary of State for Defence, in relation to members of the regular forces.

In Greater Manchester, other agencies have also signed up to Voluntary Duty to Refer including:

  • Local housing providers
  • Greater Manchester Police

What if my organisation is not listed?

We would still encourage you to make a referral; the sooner we know someone is homeless or threatened with homelessness, the sooner we can help.

What information do you need?

Applicants must consent to the referral being made; we will ask you to confirm this has been received.

The minimum information referrals to a local authority must include:

  • The applicant's name
  • Applicant's contact details
  • The reason for the referral e.g. what has made them homeless.

It would also be helpful to know what the applicant’s household composition is, e.g. if they have children, and when they are likely to become homeless.

You can also provide other information that you think might be useful, such as details of the applicant’s health needs.

Does the applicant have to be referred to Rochdale?

The applicant can request to be referred to any Local Authority of their choice. However, if they do not have a local connection they may be referred back to an authority where they do, where it is safe to do so. Authorities across Greater Manchester have adopted a common approach but different authorities will have different referral mechanisms; the information below only applies to Rochdale Council.

How do I make the referral?

What will happen next?

The Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Homeless Service, based at St Alban's House Drake Street Rochdale will then contact the applicant within 48 hours to offer them advice and, if required, an appointment to come and see a Housing Advisor.

If the applicant consents, the Housing Advisor can keep you updated on the outcome of the referral and what is being done to help the applicant.

What if the applicant is already homeless?

If the applicant is homeless and needs help immediately, please call us or advise them to present directly to the Rochdale Homelessness central assessment team:

  • Tel 0300 303 8548
  • Outside of office hours  ie Monday – Friday 9-5pm, you can call 0300 303 8875