Public health funerals

Public health funerals are funerals arranged by Local Authorities for those people who have died and have no known relatives to arrange or pay for their funeral; or have relatives who do not want to; or are unable to arrange their funeral. Local Authorities have a responsibility to arrange such funerals.

Our duty to assist

Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, we are responsible for arranging the funeral of any person who has died within the Horsham District where it appears that no other person or agency is making suitable arrangements for the funeral.

We will only take responsibility for all arrangements for funerals and estates where it has a legal obligation to do so.

In such cases, we will arrange and pay for a simple but respectful funeral. Unless it appears that the deceased would have been against cremation, the funeral arrangements will be made with the funeral director nominated by the Council for a cremation service.

If the person left paperwork or advised family or friends that they wanted to be buried, suitable arrangement for burial is made. In either case an appropriate religious or non-religious ceremony would be arranged in accordance as far as possible with the deceased's beliefs.

We will not part fund funerals, and we can’t be involved if funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has already taken place. Anyone giving instructions to a funeral director will be responsible for any costs incurred. If there are any financial limitations, then it is sensible to inform the funeral director at an early stage when arranging the funeral.

Where we have arranged and paid for a funeral, it may recover from the estate of the deceased person any expenses incurred. Generally, after the funeral costs and administration charges have been deducted, any funds, in excess of £500, remaining from the deceased person's estate will be forwarded to the Treasury Solicitor.

Funerals we have assisted

We publish a list of the public health funerals we have assisted since 2012. The list includes basic details and is updated within 14 days of undertaking a funeral or if the case is referred to the Treasury solicitor.

View the list of public health funerals we have assisted with