Councils & LGAs

Refernet’s most obvious application – joining up advice agencies and others across your juristiction.

Leverage the advice traffic in your area.

Councils, LGAs and Refernet
We know good Advice pays. Intervention early on in the issues people have, reduces the cost of helping them in the long term, and referring effectiviely, is at the heart of it. Well managed, it can save councils and LGAs serious money.

UK based Refernet is the best and possibly only ‘out-of-the-box’ dedicated referral system to provide an umbrella of Advice data for whole cities, regions or towns for all referral activity and outcomes. This not only helps more people by smoothing out the referral process, but just as important, it lifts the lid of what is happening, who is helping, and by how much. With this top level data at their fingertips, it can give Senior managers and Directors the big picture on how advice is being delivered to the community.  It’s already proven to do this.

Solving a problem
There is a particular problem to solve when referring customers to the various advice agencies, businesses, and other services around LGAs in their regions. It boils down to the variety and large numbers of different organisations they need to work with, all of whom use different systems, including online diaries, case management, and unique methods of working. Historically the only common platforms for referring between all these disparate organisations, was phone and email – but that provided little in the way of tracking and accountability for what happens to the customer and their referral journey.

Refernet has over many years successfully proven it is possible to bring a multi-partner referral solution into the LGA sector. By providing a secure, common referral platform, centred around the digital transfer and tracking of each referral, this also helps reduce stress for customers, brings accountability, and auditable results across a wide range of types of help.

This in turn helps evidence the good work being done –  and secures existing (and future funding) for everyone involved in the advice network.

Refernet in Westminster

Invitations and your team
Refernet works best when there is an advocate in the referral team – someone who takes on the role of inviting the agencies and organisations in the LGA’s region, to take part. All our successful Refernet networks have someone in this role. This is a continuous role, and in our opinion is as important as the system itself. Without the support and promotion of the referral service hub, agencies can drift away – usually because of staff churn / staff turnover.


We can’t emphasise this enough, and our experience shows… any online referral network will only be successful with the ongoing support and promotion of a dedicated referral team.


Typically a Refernet ‘System Advocate’ will provide:

Invitations: Prospective partners need to be invited in, explaining its simplicity and the fact that all agencies can refer to each other, and all on an equal basis. (each agency system has exactly the same functionality as another).

Training: The system is known for ease of use, but getting started does sometimes need Advocate support. There will be a primary user for each Agency who should take on this role, but it may take a while to get their team thinking ‘Refernet’ every time they want to refer to you, or to another agency in the network.

Reminders: The system automatically sends email reminders if referrals have been sent to the receiving agency – again this helps encourage interaction with the system.

At the end of the day, Refernet users usually want to see outcomes across a network of Agencies and define the sets of outcomes within the system to report on. It can be very simple, and it needs to be. We positively encourage clients to reduce the fields in their referral forms (which are editable), to a minimum.

Any system is more likely to be used when those (busy) advice partners accessing it have the least to do. The referral form can be expanded in time if needed, once the user base is familiar with what to do. Better to start with a light touch, than ask too much of the network early on.

Remember that this is just about a referral, not a ‘case’. All the external agencies, departments, charities and others in a typical Council network already have their own case management tools.

The number one concern when referring online is security and complicance. To be referring the number of customers Refernet handles, and with the types organisations we do this for, this is not only our highest priority, but also something we continuously work on.

We are registered with the  G-Cloud (13), so you can sign up to the Refernet service knowing that we have met the compliance processes and standards to supply our referral service formally through the Government Directory.

Working with our specialist G-Cloud Compliance consultants over the last year, it has become clear there are a few specialist referral services that serve single Advice sectors.

However, we believe Refernet is virtually unique in its current ‘reach’ into virtually every UK advice sector, whether that be Debt, Mental Health, Housing, Care for the elderly, Food banks, Legal, Money Management, Power Networks, Financial, and many, many more…

Data sharing agreement
Refernet is a Data Processor and as such supplied as an empty ‘shell’, into which you or your agency partners put your data, as Data Controllers. We play no part in who you invite or how you, or they, use Refernet. You will of course need a suitable (DSA) Data Sharing Agreement to enable you to refer between your chosen Advice partners.

Our users tell us they like Refernet because:

  • A single purpose online service, dedicated to digital referral. Easy to understand and promote to Advice Agencies / Council.
  • Departments / Charities across your jurisdiction. Many years of trusted use across the UK by major charities and councils.
  • A professional, adaptive user interface, intuitive, and easy to use - for all users on any device.
  • An optional general public self-referral service you can use via your own website, social media and other campaigns.
  • Scaleability to whole cities and regions, with reports on referral activity and performance.
  • Functionality that allows agencies to refer amongst each other in the network - the system.
  • Administrator can decide ‘who sees who’, amongst the agencies in the group.
  • Regional options. Allows regional self-referral, and regional reporting.
  • Security and GDPR compliance - own your own data.
  • Budget options which include for unlimited agency users (within your agreed contracted region), and unlimited public self-referral.
  • SMS facility to send text messages to clients (keeps clients up-to-date, with a referral ID number and which Agency is taking care of them).
  • Secure document transfer so documents can be attached safely, and only appropriate relevant parties to the referral have access.
  • A focus on outcomes and reports - good for funding and referral activity audits.
  • Flexibility within its referral form, that can be edited to suit your network’s needs.
  • An active development programme, which is constantly updated and improved.
  • Dedicated support via telephone, email, video training modules and live Zoom webinars.
  • Structured so no one has access to any of your data, apart from the parties that are handling the referral.
  • 2 factor authentication, optional, per user activated (via text message).
  • Broadcast mail: Message your network with administrator notifications.
  • Anonymisation control - Auto-delete client data, leaving non-attributable referral data for reporting, per Agency. You decide on timescales.
  • Optionally available via G-Cloud. Refernet is a Crown Commercial Service Supplier.
  • Delivered through a fully ISO compliant, UK based, dedicated server.
  • Referral efficiency - Refernet more than pays for itself - by offsetting referral admin costs, assisting early intervention, avoiding clients referral issues being prolonged / repeated.

Proven excellence

“Refernet has been running successfully at Peterborough CAB for over 4 years, seeing a four fold increase in referrals during that period” – Phil Dobbs, Peterborough CAB

Serious about security

We utilise password protected accessibility for different user levels.

Registered Office
38 Holland Road
East Sussex

01273 244099


Refernet is a service developed, built, provided and supported by ViccariWheele Ltd