Please click here to create a referral

The Duty to Refer came into force in October 2018. There is a duty on public bodies to make a referral to the Local Authorities housing and homelessness team when they become aware that an individual or household is homeless or threatened with becoming homeless within 56 days. 

The Duty to Refer only applies to public authorities in England and individuals can only be referred to housing authorities in England. 

The public bodies which have a duty to refer are:  

  • Prisons 
  • Youth Offender Institutions 
  • Secure Training Centres 
  • Secure Colleges 
  • Youth Offending Teams 
  • Probation Services (including Community Rehabilitation Companies) 
  • Job Centre Plus 
  • Social Services 
  • Emergency Departments 
  • Urgent Treatment Centres 
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care 

What do I need to know? 

You can refer any customer or service user you've identified as being either

  • homeless or threatened with homelessness 
  • The customer or service user must give their consent to be referred The individual can choose which local authority they wish to be referred to, so ask them where they would like the referral to be sent 
  • If in any doubt, or if your customer or service user needs urgent housing assistance, please contact Housing Aid on 0115 876 3300 

If you’re one of the public bodies listed above and want to refer a customer, you can make a referral online.   


The Alert software allows you to make referrals directly into the Local Authority’s Homelessness service. This system is used by Nottingham City Council as well as other LA’s across the country. It is an easy way to send in information to the relevant local authority area. 
The following link will take colleagues to a webpage from which they can register to access to the Alert system. 

Please click here to create a referral

As well as the registration form, there’s also a user guide for agencies and a webinar uploaded. The webinar gives a short demo of the system for new users. 

Any referral must include as a minimum the individual's name, contact detail and the agreed reason for the referral (e.g. that the person is homeless or at risk of homelessness). 

Further referral information may include: 

  • Whether the individual is already homeless, and if not, when they are likely to become homeless 
  • Whether the individual is at risk of rough sleeping on the date the referral is made and if so whether this is imminent 
  • Risk assessment information, considering the risks to the individual and others 
  • Key medical information where relevant 

Referrals should only be made with the consent of the individual, and so we ask that all referrals confirm that consent has been obtained. 


This process does not replace or affect any safeguarding concerns and referrals. Please report safeguarding concerns in the usual way.