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Public Health funerals

Funerals under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (known as Public Health funerals)

The Royal Borough of Greenwich provides a basic Public Health funeral service to people who die in the borough with no next of kin who can arrange the funeral. Where the person has an estate the Borough will claim its costs back from the beneficiaries.

The Financial Protection team receives referrals from the Coroner or Hospital Trust, and will conduct an initial search and make contact with Next of Kin where this is possible. In situations where no next of kin is found, a referral will be made to professional tracing companies.

Some information (primarily the names and maiden names of deceased individuals, and the value of estates) is not published by the Council, as it was provided to the Council in confidence (section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000).

The Public Health funerals information was:

  • Given to the local authority either by the hospital or the coroner's office due to no next of kin coming forward at the time of death.
  • Given to the Council on the basis that we keep it confidential should any next of kin come forward.
  • Provided in circumstances giving rise to a duty of confidence.

If the Council were to disclose restricted information, it would give rise to an actionable breach of confidence by either the hospital, coroner's office or any other third party.

The duty of confidentiality also continues after the death of an individual to whom that duty is owed. This could be enforced by any next of kin who may come forward, i.e. the deceased's personal representatives.