Public Health Act funerals

Help with funeral costs

You may be eligible for a funeral payment if you or any next of kin of the deceased are in receipt of benefits. This payment will in most cases pay for most, if not all, of the funeral bill (dependent on what was requested of the funeral director). It is sensible to let the funeral director know of any financial limitation so that they can be sure to offer you services within your means. Find out more information on what to do after someone dies.

The Down to Earth charity service offers practical support for people struggling with funeral costs.


In the absence of anyone available to take responsibility for the funeral, under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the council will arrange the funeral.

The council will:

  • arrange a burial or cremation at an appropriate time for the council and funeral director
  • provide a coffin for the deceased which will be taken to the cemetery in a hearse attended by bearers
  • include a grave side service from a cleric of the deceased’s religion or humanist service
  • in the absence of other mourners, the funeral will be attended by an officer from the council.


Please note, in these circumstances:

  • It is not possible to erect a memorial stone/kerb set or other form of memorial as the graves may serve more than one person and the grave remains in the ownership of the council.
  • The council will not become involved if funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has already taken place. Anyone giving instruction to a firm of funeral directors is responsible for any costs incurred.
  • The council will recoup all costs incurred in arranging the funeral. Legally the council has first call on the deceased's estate and may collect any and all sums of money due or belonging to the deceased and sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs.  Any shortfall would be borne by the council.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
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