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Public Health Funerals

Under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 where no suitable funeral arrangements have been made, or are being made, for a deceased person who has died in the area of the Borough, the Borough Council of Wellingborough (BCW) has a duty to arrange the funeral.  This will be a basic funeral to minimise the cost to the local tax payer.

The council will not part fund a funeral.  If funeral arrangements have already been made, anyone giving instructions to a funeral director will be responsible for any costs incurred.

The council receives a number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from companies offering to trace the next of kin of persons being buried under the Public Health Act 1948. 

In response to the volume of FOI requests for public funeral information the council has developed this area to publish a quarterly list of public health funerals, and its progress with costs recovery and all cases it refers to the Treasury Solicitor.  As such, all individual requests will be directed to this web page to ensure organisations working to trace the next of kin will have access to the same information at the same time.

 In this way the council has fulfilled its obligation under section 19 (publication scheme), section 21 (publish information) and section 22 (future planned publication) of the FOI Act.

Reclaiming the costs


The funeral costs are the first expenses claimed on any estate.  The council is entitled to collect any and all sums of money due to or belonging to the deceased and to sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs of the funeral and expenses.

If, after we have deducted the funeral and associated costs 

  • the remaining estate is over £500
  • there are no other bills outstanding
  • no known next of kin

the council refers the remaining estate to the Treasury Solicitor in accordance with their guidelines for referring 'Bona Vacantia' estates.

It is at this point the Council will make information public on this web page.  The information will be kept on the site for a period of two years.

Table of public health funerals

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 names and addresses will be withheld under the following two exemptions:

Section 21 - Information accessible to applicant by other means.
Where BCW holds some of the information requested, it does not hold the information in its own right, but on behalf of the Government Legal Department.   Some details of the estate of those persons who have died have been passed onto the Government Legal Department can be accessed via website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/government-legal-department or at the BV website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/bona-vacantia.

Section 31(1)(a) - law enforcement (prevention and detection of crime).
BCW will not disclose address details into the public domain where they relate to deceased's empty properties as the property is likely to be unoccupied and might still contain the deceased's personal papers and effects.


Last Updated: 7 May 2014