Freedom of information requests

This data is provided under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

We are frequently asked for information about public health funerals. These are funerals for people who have died with no known next of kin, bona vacantia estates and estates which have been referred to the Government Legal Department, or Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall. In response to these requests, we are releasing the following information about public health funerals.

We only refer cases to the Government Legal Department when the next of kin cannot be traced and the estate is over £500.

Information relating to public health funerals will be updated periodically. The provision of updated information before the next planned update will be exempted under Section 22 of the Freedom of information Act as it is information that we hold with the intention of publishing at some future date as specified above.

We apply the following exemptions to the release of any further information about public health funerals, people who have died with no known next of kin, bona vacantia estates and estates which have been referred to the Government Legal Department, or Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall:

  • Section 21 – Information Reasonably Accessible to the Applicant by Another Means

Our reason for applying this exemption is that details of all deaths within the area are registered. Information that the council holds on estates passed, or estates to be passed, to the Government Legal Department, is considered to be held on behalf of the Government Legal Department. Some details of the estate of those persons who have died and which have been passed to the Government Legal Department can be accessed using the Government Legal Department website or by using the Bona Vacantia website.

  • Section 31 – Law Enforcement

Similarly, there would be concerns about making the last known address of the deceased public, as the property is likely to be unoccupied and might still contain the deceased’s personal papers and effects. There is also a continuing risk after the estate has been secured of, for example, identity theft. Taking into account the above issues, the council considers that there is no over-riding public interest in releasing the information requested. Any public interest would be best served by upholding the exemption under Section 31 of the Act. Disclosure of the information would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime by enabling or encouraging the commission of offences.

You can find details of Public Health Funeral’s carried out by the Council on our public registers page.

Last reviewed: May 1, 2024 by Daniel

Next review due: November 1, 2024

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