Where a resident passes away outside of hospital and relatives cannot be found, then under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, the Local Authority has a duty to make arrangements for the funeral.
We do not publish details of individual public health funerals but where relevant, information is provided to the Government Legal Department (external website) and may also be found on the Bona Vacantia website (external website) . The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in its Decision Notices (FS50584670 and FS50583220), supports the non-disclosure of the personal details of the deceased.
Address details of the deceased
Under Section 31(1)(a) FoIA (law enforcement - prevention and detection of crime) we will not release any information which would identify the address of the deceased.
Releasing the address would leave the property vulnerable to crime; including:
- anti-social behaviour
- criminal damage
- identity fraud and the crimes that can be committed using false documents
When tracing relatives it may take several months to complete our enquiries. During this time, the property of the deceased can remain unoccupied and fully furnished with all their household possessions, papers and personal effects. Even when relatives have been found a property can remain unoccupied for a considerable time afterwards.
Protecting living relatives' information
Under Section 40(2) FoIA we do not disclose the full name and address of the deceased to protect the personal information of living relatives. This information might identify the spouse, partner or other relative who may not want it known that they had either declined or were unable to pay for the funeral.
All funerals of this type have a short service, even if it is only a reading by the funeral director.
View the costs of Public Health Funerals in our Public Health Funerals dataset spreadsheet.
Some years show a negative amount due to contributions being received from prior year costs, this is because we sometimes receive contributions from the estate of the deceased to cover the cost.