Public Health Funerals
Our role in Public Health Funerals
Our statutory duty
We have a statutory duty under the provisions of Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 to:
- undertake the disposal of deceased persons who die in the Tendring District
- either by cremation or burial
- where no other arrangements have been made
We cannot become involved if:
- funeral arrangements have already been made
- or the funeral has already taken place
We mainly deal with funeral arrangements under direction from the Coroners Office, Care Homes and Hospitals.
Only in exceptional circumstances will we carry out a Public Health Funeral for someone with living relatives.
If living relatives are unable to pay for the funeral, a funeral payment contribution is available from Jobcentre Plus for those who are in receipt of income related qualifying benefits. (DWP Form SF200), further information on qualification criteria can be found at:
Should you be the spouse or partner of the deceased, you may be eligible for the Bereavement Payment, information on this can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-payment/eligibility or a Bereavement Allowance (previously called the Widow’s pension), with information and eligibility available at https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-allowance
Alternatively the contact telephone number for further information or clarification is:
Bereavement Service Helpline, available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm:-
Telephone: 0345 606 0265
Textphone: 0345 606 0285
Living Relatives of the deceased:
If there are relatives who are not prepared or able to accept responsibility for the funeral arrangements, then we have a duty to dispose of a deceased person and to recover the costs in making the arrangements.
Assets recovered from a deceased person's property may be sold to assist in the funding of the funeral arrangements.
If the deceased made a will, we cannot become involved in the undertaking of the funeral arrangements unless the executor revokes the will.
Arranging a Public Health Funeral
We will arrange a cremation and the cremated remains will be strewn in the Garden of Remembrance at Weeley Crematorium unless:
- it is established that the religion of the deceased forbids cremation
- or the deceased expressed a wish, either verbally or written, to be buried
In exceptional circumstances, we may give the cremated remains into the care of a close family member or re-unite them with the remains of a previously deceased close family member.
We will arrange for a minister of religion or a religious representative of the faith of the deceased to conduct the service in accordance with that faith. If a non-religious service is appropriate, then this will be respected.
Our funeral director will provide a dignified funeral with a coffin taken to the crematorium or cemetery in a hearse attended by bearers.
Tendring District Council has a nominated funeral director. If any person other than this funeral director is asked to make arrangements, the Council cannot be responsible for any costs incurred up to that point.
Anyone giving instructions to a funeral director is responsible for any costs incurred
Recovering funeral costs
Environmental Health staff have statutory authorisation to enter a property owned / occupied by the deceased, under the provisions of section 61(1)(d) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, to ascertain the extent of the estate and to remove any items or assets which may assist in funding the funeral.
Generally, after the funeral costs and administration charges have been deducted, any funds, in excess of £500, remaining from a deceased person's estate will be forwarded to the Treasury Solicitor - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/bona-vacantia
The Treasury Solicitor secures the assets of deceased persons, when there are no apparent living relatives, and when the estate stands at a certain amount after funeral expenses have been paid, a caveat is placed on the estate of the deceased with the Probate Registry, before they publish minimal information about the deceased. The Treasury Solicitor's Department publish details of most estates valued at £500 or more on their website once their initial enquiries have been completed.
For further advice and guidance on assisted funerals please contact:
Telephone: (01255) 686767