Public health funerals

Funerals for someone who dies in Haringey and who either has no next of kin, or none willing or able to organise the funeral.

Local authorities must, under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, organise a funeral – called a Public Health Funeral – for a person who dies within the borough and who either has no next of kin, or none willing or able to do so.

If such a person passes away in a hospital or care home, the hospital bereavement officer or care home manager will organise the funeral, depending on the individual circumstances.

Our primary duty when arranging a public health funeral is to the person who has passed away. They will be buried or cremated as soon as is practically possible, simply but with dignity and respect.

If no instructions have been left by the person who has died as to what kind of funeral they want, we will organise a burial. If, however, the deceased has left instructions that they wish to be cremated, this can be arranged.

The person who has died will be buried in an unmarked public grave, unless they have made arrangements for a private grave. The council's contracted funeral directors will provide everything necessary for a simple but dignified service, including a coffin, the transport of the person who has died to the crematorium or cemetery in a hearse, and pallbearers to transfer the coffin to the chapel. Any religious beliefs or none will be respected, and an appropriate service will be conducted.

Relatives and/or friends, if known to us, will be advised of the date, time and place of the service. If a cremation is organised and friends or relatives wish to scatter the deceased person’s ashes – either in the cemetery’s garden of remembrance or somewhere else – then this can be arranged.

The council also has a duty to reclaim costs of the funeral from the deceased’s estate, if any, and will have first call on the estate to ensure that our costs are covered.

If you require any further information on the subject, please contact us.

More guidance at GOV.UK

Contact the bereavement team