Public Health Funerals

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The council may arrange a funeral when requested if;

  • The deceased died within the Tonbridge and Malling area and
  • no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been made or are being made.

This responsibility to arrange a funeral is for the protection of health and is provided by law under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

We must consider the following 4 questions before arranging a funeral. If you answer yes to any of these questions, we are unlikely to be able to arrange the funeral.

1. Did the person die in hospital?

If the deceased died in hospital and there are no relatives or person to arrange the funeral, the hospital may assume responsibility for the funeral arrangements. The hospital may recover their expenses from the estate of the deceased (their property and possessions).

2. Did the person die or was their body found outside of the borough council area?

If the person died or their body was found in another borough council area, regardless of whether they lived within this area, then that council should take responsibility.

3. Has a funeral director been instructed already?

If someone has already instructed a funeral director or the body is already in a funeral home, it is unlikely we will become involved because someone has already taken responsibility.

If you or the person who instructed the funeral director are concerned about costs, please discuss this with the funeral director. The social fund may be able to help with the costs of arranging a funeral.

4. Are there any family or close friends who could take responsibility for the funeral?

If cost is a concern then please discuss this with the funeral director immediately. The social fund may be able to help with the costs of arranging a funeral.

If you believe the Council should take responsibility for arranging a funeral

Please complete this form and return it to the Private Sector Housing Team. Ensure you give your contact details.

Once received, a council officer will make reasonable enquiries to determine if a more suitable person, including next of kin or family member, should take responsibility. This is likely to include contacting you for further information.

Where no one is available or able to take on the funeral arrangements, we will:

Determine the financial situation of the deceased.

We will use any estate of the deceased (their property and possessions) to cover the cost of arranging the funeral.

  • If the deceased lived in a private rented property or social housing, we will liaise with the landlord to recover any financial information including bank statements once right of entry has been granted.
  • If the deceased owns their property, you or any other party must not enter the property to remove any valuables or goods, as we will refer the case to the Treasury Solicitor.
  • If family or friends have already removed any possessions from where the deceased lived, these may need to be returned to the Council to help offset the funeral costs.

Arrange a funeral

We will:

  • Direct a preferred funeral director to collect the body.
  • Arrange a cremation unless we are aware the deceased expressly stated otherwise.
  • Arrange a simple but dignified funeral service.
  • Register the death except where an inquest is required.

Public Health Funerals arranged since January 2016

The Public Health funerals record is a list of persons since January 2016 who have died in the borough for whom the Council has arranged their funeral.