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Duty to prevent

Islington Council would like all partners to work towards a Duty to Prevent framework to reduce the likelihood of a service user* becoming homeless.

*Service user is a generic term used in this guidance to describe the people who come into contact with Islington Council and partner services. Depending on the partner agency this might include patients, jobseekers, prisoners, people sleeping rough, people sofa surfing and members of the armed forces.

Within this context, we are referring to partners listed below: 
Prisons (public and contracted out)
Youth offender institutions and youth offending teams
Secure training centres (public and contracted out) and colleges
Probation services
Job centre plus
Accident and emergency services provided in a hospital
Urgent treatment centres, and hospitals in their capacity of providing in-patient treatment
Social service authorities
The Ministry of Defence 
Faith organisations
Community based organisations
Law Centres 
Homeless organisations and charities
Citizens Advice Bureau
Outreach rough sleeping services
Domestic Abuse organisations
Mental health services

If one of your Islington service users is homeless or at risk of homelessness, please refer them to the council’s Housing Needs service as soon as possible. The contact details are provided below. 

Before you proceed with a referral, your service user should be asked which local authority they would like to be referred to for housing assistance. Please note, in specific cases, if a service user does not have a local connection to the local authority they approached for assistance, that local authority may refer the service user to another local authority where a local connection has previously been established.  

Identifying when a referral might be required
A referral may be required if your service users are affected by one or more of the issues cited below:
debt problems
problems with a landlord such as being threatened with eviction
experienced domestic abuse or other threats or violence
a history of being in care, armed forces or prison
accommodation available if they are approaching discharge from hospital, armed forces or custody
sofa surfing

Obtaining the person's consent
In general, a referral cannot be made without the service user's consent. However, consent may be waived in order to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.
Although verbal consent is acceptable, consent obtained in writing is preferred.

Referral procedure
Please advise Islington Council as soon as possible when a person is identified as being at risk of homelessness. Islington Council promotes an easy access single point of contact for referrals to ensure the Duty to Prevent referral is successful. Your organisation can submit a referral by accessing the Alert referral portal.

 Alert referral portal

To use this referral portal you will need:
a valid organisational email address and to create a password
details of the person or household being referred and their preferred method of contact
where possible details about their current housing situation and/or support needs
You may wish to complete the referral with the person present, if that isn’t possible the referral forms allows you to only enter information that you have knowledge of.

What Islington Council will do on receipt of a referral
You will receive a notification via the referral portal when we accept your referral
We will make contact with the service user whose details you provided
If we need more information, we will contact you to request this

Islington Council will respond to all referrals made through the Duty to Prevent framework within 48 hours from receiving the referral, in order to maximise the opportunities to prevent the service user from becoming homeless. However, urgent cases will be responded to more quickly.

A referral made by any partner agency under the duty to prevent does not constitute a homeless application. If contact with the person referred gives Islington Council reason to believe that they may be homeless or threatened with homelessness, this will trigger either the council’s statutory prevention or relief duties.   

If you are unable to access the Alert referral portal, please call us on 020 7527 6371 or email us.

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