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Duty to refer

The 'duty to refer' requires public authorities in England (opens new window) to notify a local housing authority, such as Chichester District Council, of service users they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Please note this process is only for the public authorities listed: 

  • 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.
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care.

If you are not one of these public bodies you should ask the person you are concerned about to complete a housing advice form and seek housing assistance from the council directly. Alternatively, if you want to report a rough sleeper to the council you can do this through Streetlink (opens new window).
Whilst your service user can request a referral to any local authority for housing advice, it is worth noting the benefits of choosing a local authority to which the service user already has a local connection. This will decrease the risk of receiving advice from one council only for further duties to be referred again elsewhere.
A local connection will usually be defined by:

  • Having lived in the Chichester District for 6 of the last 12 months;
  • Having lived in the Chichester District for 3 of the last 5 years; 
  • Currently employed within the District; or
  • Having a close family member who has lived in the Chichester District continuously for the last 5 years.

Please note there are different local connection criteria for young people leaving care to make it easier for them to receive assistance.

More information can be found in our Care Leavers Advice (PDF) [249KB]  document.
Please use the Duty to refer form to notify us of such cases. Chichester District Council's Housing Advice Team will then make contact with the referred person within 10 working days to assess their housing needs and provide appropriate advice. If your referral is urgent please make this clear on the form.

Housing Duty to refer form


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