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Public Health Funerals

Information about Public Health Funerals that have taken place in Fenland.

What is a Public Health Funeral?

The funeral of a person who has died within the District of Fenland in Cambridgeshire, where there is no other agency or persons making suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body. This does not apply to anyone who dies in hospital or in an ambulance on the way to hospital, whereby the responsibility lies with the relevant health authority.

Why does the Council carry out Public Health Funerals?

The council has a duty under section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act of 1984 to "cause to be buried or cremated the body of any person who has died or found to be dead" within the District of Fenland in Cambridgeshire, and where it appears "that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been or are being made".

Who notifies the Council that a death has occurred?

The Coroner will normally notify the Council when a death has occurred and there is no known agency / persons making suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body.

Who is responsible for tracing / informing the next of kin of people who have died and are in need of a public health funeral?

Environment & Leisure Support Team

Email: bereavement@fenland.gov.uk

Tel: 01354 602176

Fax: 01354 606902

Postal Address: Environment & Leisure Support Team, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, Cambs PE15 8NQ

What if there is a will?

If the deceased left a will the Council will inform the executor named in the Will about the person's death. The responsibility of administering the estate and arranging the funeral of the deceased is the responsibility of the executor.

How does the Council notify friends / family of deceased's death / funeral?

The Council makes every effort to contact the deceased's next of kin, friends etc. based on initial details provided by the Coroner / Police / Undertakers.

The Council does not place notices relating to public health funerals. However the relevant undertaker carrying out the public health funeral on behalf of the Council may take steps to publicise a notice on their own website.

Which funeral director does the Council use?

Fenland District Council currently has a nominated funeral director for Public Health Funerals.

How is a Public Health Funeral funded?

The Council is entitled to recover the costs of the funeral from the estate of the deceased, in the form of a civil debt within three years.

Fenland District Council will not part-fund a funeral.

I am the partner of the deceased / a close relative or close friend / the parent of the still-born baby / the parent of the deceased child, but I can't afford the funeral arrangements

Funeral Payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may be available (subject to application conditions) for persons making the funeral arrangements who are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information visit GOV.UK.

What is included in a Public Health Funeral?

Fenland District Council will arrange a basic but respectful burial. Normally this will involve:

  • Collection and storage of the body
  • Coffin (basic standard)
  • Burial in a public grave*
  • Vehicle / Bearers to transport and assist the burial of the deceased
*Please note: Public Graves are un-purchased graves which do not allow for the erection of a grave monument and may be shared with an un-related person.

What happens to the deceased's belongings / estate?

Council Officers may be required to search the property of the deceased to establish next of kin / family details and to secure any items considered of value.

Where there is no next of kin, the estate will be referred to the Treasury Solicitor (subject to the value of the estate being in excess of £500.00 following all funeral costs). For more information on the Treasury Solicitor please click here.

Where the deceased lived in rented accommodation, once the Council has satisfied itself that there are no items of value the landlord should take responsibility for clearing the premises at their cost. Similarly, if they lived in a care / nursing home, the home is accountable for the disposal of the effects.

Who is responsible for sending information to the Treasury Solicitor (or similar) regarding public health funerals?

Environment & Leisure Support Team

Email: bereavement@fenland.gov.uk

Tel: 01354 602176

Fax: 01354 606902

Postal Address: Environment & Leisure Support Team, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, Cambs PE15 8NQ

Freedom of Information Requests - Listing of Public Health Funerals carried out by Fenland District Council

View the information relating to pdf icon Public Health Funerals [305kb] that can be made publically available.