Isle of Wight Council

Homeless Section

Homelessness Duty to Refer for Public Bodies

Duty to Refer

Section 213B of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places a duty on public authorities to notify a housing authority of any service users who they believe are either homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.  This duty only applies to certain types of public authorities in England and the referral can only be made to housing authorities in England. 

Public authorities must consider the following before making a referral:

(a) They must have consent from the individual to make the referral;
(b) They must allow the individual to identify the housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to;
(c) They must have consent from the individual that their contact details can be supplied so the housing authority can contact them regarding the referral.

The full list of public authorities which are subject to this duty to refer can be found on the website.  They 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; and,
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care.
  • The Secretary of State for Defence in relation to members of the regular forces. The regular forces are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.


Referral Procedure

Public authorities can notify the Isle of Wight Council of a user who meets the above criteria by completing the Homelessness Referral Form for completion by Public Bodies, which can be found on the ‘Do it online’ tab above. 

While public authorities are not duty bound to refer anybody who is not threatened with homeless within 56 days, the Council will accept referrals for anybody who is threatened with homelessness and each referral will be assessed based upon their situation.  Likewise, the Council will also accept referrals via this route from organisations that do not fall within the above list. 

It may not always be appropriate to complete a referral for a service user, if for example they have particular support needs.  If this is the case, the referring authority may decide that it is more appropriate that they assist the service user to contact the Council directly.  Details of how to apply to the Council as homeless can be found on the Homelessness Reduction tab above.   

Once a referral has been made, the Council will make an assessment of the information provided and will contact the service user.  If it has been indicated that they are either sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough, the Council will contact them on the same day to discuss their situation and make an assessment of the assistance that the Council is able to provide. 

If they are already working with the Council, we shall respond as part of our ongoing duty.  If the Council has recently dealt with the service user but has since closed their case, we will still contact the services user to check that there has not been a change to their situation. 

Referrals made during the evenings and weekends

Referrals that are completed out of working hours will be picked up by the Council on the next working day.  If the referral has been completed outside of these hours, and the referring public authority is aware that the service user is rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping before the Council is open again, we ask that the referrer also contacts the Council emergency homelessness service.  The Council’s duty officer will then make an emergency assessment.  The details of the Council’s opening times and emergency telephone number can be found on the 'Contact' tab above. 

Hampshire Homelessness Referral Protocol

The Hampshire Homelessness Referral Protocol is a joint working protocol that defines how housing authorities within Hampshire will work together to prevent homelessness and the procedures that to be followed in making and receiving homelessness referrals.  View a copy of the protocol (PDF, 503KB, 10 pages). 

The list of housing authorities that are signed into this agreement is as follows:

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council;
East Hampshire District Council;
Eastleigh Borough Council;
Fareham Borough Council;
Gosport Borough Council;
Hart District Council;
Havant Borough Council;
Isle of Wight Council;
New Forest District Council;
Portsmouth City Council;
Rushmoor Borough Council;
Southampton City Council;
Test Valley Borough Council;
Winchester City Council;

When a service user is identified by a public authority as either being homeless or threatened with homelessness, and they have requested to be referred to one of the above local authority areas, the referrer can complete a Hampshire Homelessness Referral Form. (PDF, 286KB, 4 pages). Details of the referral procedure are attached to the form.