On Monday 1st October, section 213b of the Homelessness Reduction Act, the Duty to Refer came into force across England.

Housing Jigsaw
Housing Jigsaw ALERT

Duty to refer – are you ready?

Specified public bodies will now have a Duty to Refer ‘at risk’ households to a local authority housing team. This will mean that a person’s housing situation must be considered whenever they come into contact with a wider public service, such as a hospital.

Upon the HRA coming into force in April this year, Crisis wrote that ‘a whole service system approach is essential to tackle the [homelessness] issue. We need other agencies to identify people before they become homeless or when they are already homeless.

We also need other agencies, charities and service providers to respond to the various needs or issues people might be experiencing that are jeopardising them from successfully sustaining their tenancies. Councils cannot do this alone and to achieve real success, a whole government and service system response is crucial.’

The new Duty aims to ensure just this; that services work together effectively to prevent homelessness by ensuring that peoples’ housing needs are automatically considered when they come into contact with public authorities.

It’s also hoped that it will encourage local housing authorities and other public authorities to build strong partnerships, enabling them to work together to intervene earlier to prevent homelessness through increasingly integrated services.

Whilst many positives are expected to result from the duty to refer, it does of course place a greater burden of work on local authority housing teams and other public bodies. With this fresh challenge ahead, many local authorities and their partner agencies have already started working with us at Housing Jigsaw to establish how best to work together and with open channels of communication.

In the run-up to 1stOctober, our newest module, ALERT has been enabling local authorities to use the portal with partners to facilitate earlier intervention and meet their new statutory duty. Using ALERT, officers and their counterparts have been able to securely and efficiently send referrals and notifications – and best of all, the system will be free to install and use for the lifetime of the product.

ALERT has quickly become the number one referrals system on the market, being used by more agencies and local authorities than any other system available. It is also the only system out there offering the full range of referrals and notifications by type; not only the s213b but others, from the government’s PREVENT counter-terrorism initiative, to the modern slavery referral. For a full list of the referrals offered by ALERT, simply click here.

Our newest module has earned its place as leader in the market through its intelligent design that tailors its questions and workflow to the agency in question, so it truly is working for everyone. This ensures that the right problems are being solved by the right people, reducing the risk of errors and simplifying the process. Crucially, ALERT also meets and exceeds all the stringent MHCLG, GDPR and ISO27001 standards in place, ensuring local housing authorities and their partners are safe, legal and compliant.

At Housing Jigsaw, we work with local authority practitioners to make their work life easier – and ALERT is no different. As with other modules in the Housing Jigsaw suite, this module has been designed in collaboration with the National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS), so you know you’re getting something that will work for you. We encourage all local authority housing teams and their partner agencies to take advantage of this expertise and register for their free ALERT module in preparation for 1stOctober.

To find out more about ALERT, ALERT+ and ALERT Transfer, go to the Housing Jigsaw website or email us on info@housingjigsaw.uk

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