Fresource Friday: social services referral templates

24.03.2017

Received a homeless application from someone with children? Are they likely to be ineligible on immigration grounds or intentionally homeless?

Then you should ask whether they want to be referred to social services.

A forgotten duty

This duty to offer a referral (under HA 1996 s.213A(2)) is one of those homelessness duties that's often overlooked by busy housing officers.

The purpose of the duty is pretty obvious. If a household contains a child but the applicant is unlikely to be owed a homelessness duty they may still qualify for help with accommodation from social services (under section 20 of the Children Act 1989).

If the applicant gives permission social services can prepare to assess what (if any) help they'll give since housing must:

  • forward details of their case (which should include why the applicant might not be owed a duty) once consent is given,

and then later:

  • inform social services of the decision made on what duty (if any) is owed under the homelessness legislation.

Evidencing compliance

The following letters will help you demonstrate that you've complied with the duty:

Download them for free* once you've created an account (see 'How to download' below).

For a parent facing homelessness the mere mention of social services can be a frightening thing. So the initial letter clearly sets out clearly the reasons why you're offering a referral.

In Wales

If you assess homeless applications in Wales you should note that the legal test for having to offer a referral is different.

The s.96(2) duty is owed where there's reason to believe that an applicant with whom a person under 18 normally resides (or might reasonably be expected to reside):

  • may be ineligible for help; or
  • may be threatened with homelessness and the section 66 is unlikely to apply; or
  • may be homeless and a duty under section 68, 73 or 75 is unlikely to be owed.

Again, there are letters in the Resources section:

How to download

You can download these letters if:

  • you work for a council or housing association
  • you've created an account with your work email address, and
  • you've received a second confirmation email.

Be quick!

*The letters will only be free to download or a limited time.

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