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Public health funerals

If somebody dies and it appears that no suitable arrangements have been made then Craven District Council has a responsibility to make sure that a person receives a proper burial or cremation.

What is a public health funeral?

The funeral of a person who has died within the District of Craven where there is no other agency or persons making suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body.

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 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 Craven in North Yorkshire, and where is 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.

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.

Who pays for the funerals?

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.

Craven District Council will not part fund a funeral.

What if I can't afford the funeral arrangements?

Funeral payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may be available for persons making the funeral arrangements who are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information visit www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/overview 

What is included in a public health funeral?

Craven District Council will arrange a basic but respectful cremation. Normally this will involve:

  • Collection and storage of the body
  • Coffin (basic standard)
  • Cremation
  • Vehicle/bearers to transport and assist the cremation of the deceased

What happens to the deceased belongings/estate?

Council officers may be required to search the property of the deceased to establish next of kin/family details, religious beliefs, funeral preferences 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 following all funeral costs.

Freedom of information (FOI) requests

In response to freedom of information requests on this subject, this page fulfils obligations under section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Information intended for future publication).

The council is entitled to collect any and all sums of money due to or belonging to the deceased and to sell any belongings in order to help offset the costs of the funeral ad expenses.  If the remaining estate is over £500, there are no other bills outstanding and no known next of kin, the council refers the remaining estate to the Treasury solicitor.  If next-of-kin are traced, we would not deal with the case and would not refer to the Treasury Solicitor.

Bona Vacantia

The Bona Vacantia department of the Treasury Solicitors office administer the estates of persons who die intestate without known kin and collect the assets of dissolved companies and failed trusts.

Treasury Solicitor referrals

Name

Postcode area

Date of death

Referred to treasury solicitor

E McGill

BD23

21.07.10

Yes

M Taylor

BD23

12.08.13

No

H Metcalfe

BD20

16.07.14

No

M Curley

BD20

30.10.15

No

The above information is updated as and when necessary.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 names and addresses may have been redacted or withheld under the following two exemptions:

Section 21 - Information accessible to applicant by other means

Although the council holds some of the information, it does not accept that it holds the information in its own right, but on behalf of the Treasury Solicitors' department. Some details of the estate of those persons who have died have been passed onto the Treasury Solicitors' department can be accessed via the Treasury Solicitors' websites http://www.tsol.gov.uk/default.htm or http://www.bonavacantia.gov.uk/.

Section 31(1)(a) - law enforcement (prevention and detection of crime)

The council will not disclose address details into the public domain where they relate to deceased's properties as it is likely to be unoccupied and might still contain the deceased's personal papers and effects. It is not in the public interest to disclose information relating to empty properties prior to a full and thorough securing of the assets of the estate as undertaken by Treasury Solicitors. Additionally, giving out the names of the deceased taken with other information easily available i.e. the electoral roll, telephone directory entry, internet searches etc. would make identifying properties easy.