Duty to Refer

From the 1 October 2018, as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act, public bodies will be bound by the Duty to Refer.

The Duty to Refer requires all public bodies listed below to refer anyone they believe may be homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days to a Local Housing Authority of their choice.

The public bodies included in the duty to refer are as follows:

  1. prisons
  2. youth offender institutions
  3. secure training centres
  4. secure colleges
  5. youth offending teams
  6. probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  7. Jobcentre Plus
  8. social services authorities
  9. emergency departments
  10. urgent treatment centres
  11. hospitals in their function of providing in patient care
  12. Secretary of State for Defence - in relation to members of the regular forces.

All eleven local authorities in Devon and Cornwall are working together to ensure there is a consistent approach across Devon and Cornwall. If you are making a referral to the one of the following Local Authorities then please follow the process below.

Local Authorities included in the Partnership

  • Cornwall Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • North Devon District Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • South Hams District Council
  • Teignbridge District Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Torridge District Council
  • West Devon Borough Council

If the Local Authority you want to make a referral to is not on the list above, then please visit that Local Authorities website and search 'Duty to Refer' for details on how to make a referral.

Process for making a referral to South Hams District Council

Before making a referral please ensure the following:

  • You have consent to make a referral from the individual that you are working with and to share their contact details with the receiving authority (we can only accept a referral if consent has been given).
  • You have allowed the individual to identify the local housing authority in England which they would like the notification to be made to (Referrals should not be made to Authorities in Wales and Scotland)

Once you have consent and you have confirmed that the applicant wishes to be referred to South Hams District Council please go to the following link, and select SHDC from the drop-down menu:

Duty to Refer

If you are unable to access this link then please e-mail us dutytorefer@swdevon.gov.uk and we can send you a digital referral form.

Please note you will need to register your organisation in order to access the portal. The process is very straightforward and only requires completion once.

What happens next?

Once you have made a referral you will receive an email with a reference number. We aim to respond to referrals received within 3 working days.

If you are referring from Prison then it is important you provide a means by which we are able to contact the individual you are referring.

Please note: An application will only be accepted once the Council has made contact with the applicant and has reason to believe that they might be homeless or threatened with homelessness and the individual indicates that they would like assistance