What if I am being referred to social services?

If you are homeless and you apply to the council housing department for help, it may refer you to your local social services department.

When should the council get social services involved?

The council housing department might send you to social services because they have decided that they can’t help you, or because they think social services can provide more appropriate help (for example, if you have difficulty living independently).

Social services are under a duty to promote the well-being of people who need care and support. This could include people who:

  • are under 18
  • have left care (or are about to do so)
  • are responsible for dependent children
  • are disabled, ill or elderly
  • care for people who are disabled, ill or elderly.

Every council should have set procedures for referring people between housing and social services. This should avoid people being passed between housing and social services without either department taking responsibility. However, it does sometimes happen that people are passed between departments. If this happens to you, get help.

For more information on the type of help social services can give, click here.

What if social services won’t help either?

If the council has passed you on to social services, but social services cannot help you in the way that you need, get help. You may be able to challenge social services by making a complaint, or, in extreme cases, taking legal action. The law about the help that social services has to provide can be very complicated, so getting advice is essential if you are in this situation.

Where can I get help?

If you have applied to the council housing department for help and they have told you that they can’t help but social services might help, get help immediately. An adviser can inform you of your rights to help from social services and what sort of help they might offer. An adviser should also be able to look into the reasons why the council has come to that decision, and may be able to put arguments to the council on your behalf.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: July 21, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.