Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984
We only deal with those who die at home or on the street, where it appears that no other agency or persons are making suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body.
A person, who dies in hospital, in an ambulance on the way to hospital becomes the responsibility of the health authority. Residents of the district who pass away in another area are not our responsibility.
On receiving a notification, officers from the Public Protection Service will conduct a search of the property of the deceased with a view to finding details of next of kin, a will, or bank details etc. It is important that no one else enters the property until an officer has undertaken a search as this could be seen as intermeddling with the estate.
Once involved, we will contact a local funeral director to make the necessary arrangements. We will normally opt for a simple burial in a common grave with a short service performed by a local minister. We will not pay for the cost of limousines, flowers or a headstone. We will not part-fund/ top-up a funeral.
We are entitled to recover the costs of a funeral from the estate of the deceased by selling their belongings or claiming monies from a bank account etc.
People in receipt of certain benefits or on low income may be entitled to a grant from the Social Fund administered by the Department of Work and Pensions
We receive a large number of requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI act) where the requestor seeks information about public health burials.
In order to reduce the amount of time taken dealing with these requests, basic details of all public health burials arranged by us since 1 January 2010 can be viewed in a downloadable PDF at the bottom of this page.
In most cases, this list will be updated within seven days from notification of death. In practice, we deal with very few cases where there is no next of kin and where the case is subsequently referred to the treasury solicitor.
In accordance with the FOI act 2000, the last known address has been withheld under the following exemption:
Section 31(1)(a) - Law enforcement (prevention and detection of crime). We will not disclose details of the full last known address of the deceased as the address if unoccupied might still contain the deceased's personal effects.
We do not believe it to be in the public interest to disclose information relating to unoccupied properties where releasing that information into the public domain could prejudice the prevention of crime.