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Duty to Refer Privacy Notice

Duty to Refer

The Homelessness Reduction Act introduces a new duty on certain public authorities in England to notify Local Housing Authority’s of service users they think may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless in 56 days. The public authority must have permission from the individual before referring them and the individual should identify which Local Housing Authority they would like to be referred to.

In addition, a number of other agencies such as Social Housing providers, Police, Homeless Charities, have signed up to a Voluntary Agreement to Refer.

Our core data protection obligations and commitments are set out in the council’s primary privacy notice which is available on our website.

This notice provides additional privacy information for:

  • Members of the public accessing the homelessness service through Duty to Refer
  • People who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and seeking assistance from a service commissioned by a Council to prevent or relieve homelessness in order for the Council to fulfil its statutory homelessness obligations.
  • Partners working with the Council

It describes how we collect, use and share personal information about you:

  • in relation to duty to refer
  • the types of personal information we need to process, including information the law describes as ‘special’ because of its sensitivity

It is important that you read this notice, together with any other privacy information we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.


We collect your personal information for the following purpose(s):

  • to enable a referral to be made to the LHA
  • to enable the LHA to assess your situation in relation to the duty to refer
  • to contact you about your situation and the information you have provided;
  • to deliver statutory duties to refer as set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

Categories of personal data

In order to carry out these purposes we collect and obtain:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • contact number
  • gender
  • address history
  • reason for your homelessness or threat of homelessness

Legal basis for processing

The legal basis for processing your personal information is:

  • Performing or exercising obligations under law - Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
  • Performing a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;
  • processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations.

Information sharing/recipients

We may receive and/or share personal information about you for the following purposes:

  • To undertake our statutory functions in relation to duty to refer
  • To gain a better understanding of your situation
  • When you have requested that we share your information
  • When you have given us permission to share your information so that you can access services
  • When it is necessary to prevent you or others from harm

We may share and/or receive your data with the following types of organisations:

The specific public authorities with a duty to refer:

  • Social services and related agencies
  • Probation/CRC
  • Prisons
  • Youth Offending Institutions
  • Youth Offending Teams
  • Secure Colleges
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Hospital Accident & Emergency Departments
  • Urgent Treatment Centres
  • Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • The Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the duty to refer in relation to members of the regular forces. The regular forces are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.

The Agencies who have signed the Voluntary Agreement to Refer:

  • Housing Associations
  • Police

We will not normally share your information with organisations other than partner organisations; however, there may be certain circumstances where we would share without consent such as where we are required to do so by law, to safeguard public safety, and in risk of harm or emergency situations. Only the minimum information for the purpose will be shared.

Automated Decisions

For this service:

  • All decisions involve human interaction.

Data retention/criteria

We will only keep your personal information for as long as the law specifies or where the law does not specify this, for the length of time determined by our business requirements.

Rights of individuals

Under data protection legislation, you have the right to request access to the information that we hold about you. In certain circumstances you also have the right to:

  • object to processing of personal data that is likely to cause, or is causing, damage or distress
  • prevent processing for the purpose of direct marketing
  • object to decisions being taken by automated means
  • have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed.

To find out more about how these rights apply in particular circumstances, please refer to our website or alternatively visit the Information Commissioner’s web site at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/

Updates to Privacy Notice

We may update or revise this Privacy Notice at any time so please refer to the version published on our website for the most up to date details


© Greater Manchester Police 2019