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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 

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, don't hesitate to get in touch with 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 to the Local Authority’s Homelessness service.

It is an easy way to send in information to the relevant local authority area. This system is used by Nottingham City Council and other Local Authorities across the country.

To register to access the Alert system, please visit the ALERT website by clicking the button below.

ALERT - 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 the individual's name, contact detail and the agreed reason for the referral (e.g., the person is homeless or at risk of homelessness).

Further referral information may include the following:

  • 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 individual's consent, so we ask that all referrals confirm that permission has been obtained.


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

Contact us

Customer Hub
Loxley House
Trent Street

Tel: 01158763300

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