Homeless Reduction Act - duty to refer

From 1 October 2018, certain public bodies in England will have a duty, set by the Homeless Reduction Act 2017, to refer service users who are homeless or threatened with homelessness to local housing authorities.

Wirral Council is this area’s ‘local housing authority’.

The duty will help people access homeless services as early as possible to prevent or relieve homelessness.

If you are considering making a referral to Wirral Council then please read our quick fact sheet for further guidance.

Public bodies with a duty to refer

These public bodies are required to comply with the duty:

  • prisons
  • youth offender institutions and youth offending teams
  • secure training centres and colleges
  • probation services
  • jobcentre plus
  • hospitals (accident and emergency services, urgent treatment centres, and hospitals in their capacity of providing in-patient treatment)
  • social services
  • Ministry of Defence (regular force members)

If you are unclear about the duty or whether your organisation is required to comply, then please refer to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's guide for further information.

Information needed before making a public body referral

You will need to determine the following information with your service user:

  • aged 16 years or over
  • are homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days
  • have agreed to the referral
  • how the service user is to be contacted
  • identified which English local housing authority they would like to be referred to. (Housing authorities will consider a service user’s ‘local connection’ to their area to determine what, if any, legal duties are owed to them). Read more information and guidance at Shelter.

Some public bodies, such as social services, have legal duties of their own to provide accommodation to certain vulnerable groups and referrals should be made appropriately.

Making a ‘public body’ referral to Wirral Council

This referral form is only for the use of employees of specified public bodies and other partner organisations.

Submit a referral

Please note that you are not making a homeless application by completing this form.

The Housing Options Team will contact the service user to complete an assessment.