Public health funerals

Our duty

We have a legal duty to make funeral arrangements for anyone who dies within our district if:

  • no one else has arranged a funeral
  • we can't find any relatives or friend of the deceased
  • the relatives of the deceased cannot or will not arrange a funeral

The Coroner's office lets us know about these types of death.

Local care homes will also contact us when they know is no next of kin.

If someone dies outside our district, the local authority for that area will make the funeral arrangements. This is the case, even if the person had lived in our district.

If you would like to arrange a funeral you can visit GOV.UK to find out what help you can get to pay for it.

We cannot get involved if:

  • you have already made the funeral arrangements
  • the funeral has already taken place

 We do not provide funding to families whether the funeral has taken place or not.

Anyone who has already given instruction to a firm of funeral directors will have to pay any costs they incur.

If there is nobody willing or able to make the funeral arrangements, we will ask the nearest surviving relative to sign a form stating they:

  • have read our procedure
  • are willing for us to make the funeral arrangements
  • understand we will recover any costs from the deceased’s estate

We will use the deceased's possessions to help offset the cost of the funeral. If the family has already removed them from the deceased's home they need to make the possessions available to us.

If we can't find a next of kin, our Cemetery Service Manager or Cemetery Officer will make a written statement:

  • confirming this position
  • authorising the funeral arrangements

You can contact our Cemeteries team for more information or to ask for a copy of this procedure.

Cemetery Services

Address: Unit 4
Lakes Industrial Park
Lower Chapel Hill
Braintree
Essex
CM7 3RU

Telephone: 01376 557772