Text size: larger | smaller | reset

supporting welfare to work providers

Referral organisations

Networking and referrals section image: Image depicting two small plastic men shaking hands with a large arrow on eth ground - concept to imply networking and referals

The organisations that refer to you depend on you to provide a service to the customer coming to your organisation, so make sure you keep them up to date with any changes in procedure or contact details. This might seem obvious, but it often gets forgotten and can lead to referrals going to another organisation when you cannot be contacted. See this list for suggestions on what you should do:


  • Make sure that referrals are dealt with quickly and let them know what is happening
    with their customer
  • Agree how often this will happen and how it will be reported
  • Try to ensure that all customers are matched with an adviser who will understand their needs
  • Find out what services your customers have already used so that you can move them on and not repeat work already done. 50+ customers often do not relish being ‘sent’ to different agencies unless fully engaged in the reasons
  • Make sure referring organisations have up-to-date leaflets and contact details
  • Ask those referring to you to reassure their 50+ customers that you have the skills to work effectively with them

Building a firm referral network

Consider working with local groups to build a referral network. These groups might include organisations who offer employment advice to customers who apply for housing, for example. You could ask to spend time at the council’s housing offices or housing associations to speak to people aged 50+ about their employment needs. One contractor found having an information desk half a day a week in local libraries particularly effective with people over 50.

Know your referral organisations:

  • what they do
  • who they provide a service for
  • how they provide this service
  • funding provider (this can be an issue for some onward referrals)
  • how they get their referrals.

Draw up a checklist of the range of agencies likely to exist in your locality that could be used to build a specialist network (for advice but also from which to receive customer referrals).

This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.