Referrals tool

Opportunities to change a life are fleeting...

Police, as first responders, encounter people every day trapped in a cycle of violence, crime, drug abuse, and poverty. It's an opportunity to help those people break free from the rut they're in. Making a good referral is tricky. Police traditionally make only simple referrals (to drugs counselling services, for instance). Even in the custody suite, there are really only a few fleeting moments to get it right...

There are thousands of charities and agencies across the UK that have expertise in reaching out and making a difference to peoples' lives.

It's time we built an effortless tool to help police put these charities through to the people who need them most.

We've got access to CharityBase, an online database of all 168,000 charities in the UK. Our goal is to develop a searchable Human Services data layer and an easy-to-use, responsive, web app for police officers.

Project progress

Phase 1

  • ✅ Build links with CharityBase.
  • Explore a mapping between CharityBase API data and HSDS.
  • User research to establish and refine a set of use cases and requirements.
  • Identify key factors in identifying a good service for a referral.
  • Demonstrate feasibility of the project using search terms across CharityBase for a number of scenarios.
  • Agree and prepare design and implementation steps for Phase 2.


Join us to help design and build a system that can make effortless referrals for people caught in a vicious cycle.

We'd like to hear from:

  • Custody sergeants, gaolers, DWOs.
  • HTML/JS developers for a responsive web app design.
  • People with knowledge of charities and referral services.

Security awareness is a key part of every design and implementation decision. Bring your infosec tin-foil hat to every project involving personal data! We'll be challenging each other, our designs, and our implementations throughout the process; and we'll be seeking advice from security professionals as we work.

Credit for illustrations: Lukasz Adam