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Kent County Council: Strengthening referrals for financial advice and support

Kent County Council have worked to strengthen referrals across Kent for those in financial hardship to mitigate the action of signposting. ‘ReferKent’ has been introduced, which is an online platform that allows a simple, easy, and secure referrals to be made by organisations to one another. Supporting this, the Money Advice Network has also been implemented and gives the council the ability to directly refer to them. 


Kent County Council recognised that there were many organisations signposting individuals to financial help and support available, without fully knowing if the individual was contacting the organisation they were being signposted to. Individuals who were subject to signposting often felt deflated and as if no one was helping and having to re tell their story over and over. By placing the ownership on the organisation to contact the individual it ensures that the individual is not left entirely alone at a time of hardship.   

Having assessed the issue of signposting with internal and external stakeholders, it was decided to procure a referral platform that would allow a network of agencies to refer rather than signpost.   

ReferKent has since been part of a small pilot, with most Citizens Advice Bureau’s onboard and is continually growing.  The website offers a place for organisations to promote their projects and services that can be referred to, a drop-down search box to make looking for projects and services easy and a simple referral form.  Organisations who receive a referral have a three-day window in which to contact the individual.  Each organisation is set up with a primary user who can see referral activity for their organisation and are able to access activity reports – giving valuable insight into the number of referrals being made to particular services. The primary user can add users from their organisation to the system and update their profile.

They are also able to create referral networks through the system to allow certain programmes to be referred to via specific organisations and turn off referrals to organisations if demand gets too high.      

Alongside the ReferKent system, a networking meeting has been set up so that organisations can come together to promote their projects and services, allowing referrers to ask questions to ensure a more robust referral can be made. After the meeting, a newsletter is sent out to highlight projects and services to those who couldn’t make the meeting due to time constraints.  

Money and Pensions Service

Kent County Council have also worked with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) to ensure they can directly refer individuals to their Money Advice Network. The Money Advice Network is a technological solution to providing debt advice, where the referral is sent to a debt adviser on a taxi-rank basis via a simple online referral form, allowing for individuals to get an immediate call back from a debt adviser who could be based anywhere in the country. They have also advocated the system to District councils and voluntary sector organisations and utilised the tools provided by MaPS by embedding them in our email signatures, letters, webpages, and social media posts.    

As a result of this the Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS), the Council's emergency welfare scheme, has made over 460 referrals and several District councils and voluntary sector organisations are now able to make referrals due to their advocating work.


To find out more about ReferKent please email [email protected].

The Council is happy to provide advice to councils wishing to set up a similar system