We work closely with the Coroner, local hospitals, social services residential care, the police and the Treasury Solicitor.
The sections below contain information about Public Health funerals in Lambeth and how they're managed.
Public Health funerals per year
How many Public Health funerals have been carried out by Lambeth in recent years?
- 2017-18 - 67
- 2016-17 - 58
- 2015-16 - 64
- 2014-15 - 57
- 2013-14 - 68
- 2012-13 - 58
- 2011-12 - 60
- 2010-11 - 62
What costs has the service incurred over the last three years?
Staff costs: £40,400
Funeral Director's costs: £45,357
Total expenditure: £85,757
Expenditure recovered: £46,520
Net cost: £39,237
Staff costs: £40,108
Funeral Director's costs: £40,537
Total expenditure: £80,645
Expenditure recovered: £687.56
Net cost: £79,957
Staff costs: £38,840
Funeral Director's costs: £80,987
Total expenditure: £119,827
Expenditure recovered: £28,715
Net cost: £91,112
Staff costs: £37,316
Funeral Director's costs: £46,000
Total expenditure: £83,316
Expenditure recovered: £35,225
Net cost: £48,091
Staff costs: £38,579
Funeral Director's costs: £33,948
Total expenditure: £72,527
Expenditure recovered: £37,825
Net cost: £34,702
Staff costs: £37,481
Funeral Director's costs: £65,954
Total expenditure: £103,435
Expenditure recovered: £2,619
Net cost: £100,816
What is the gender breakdown of Public Health funerals in Lambeth?
Approximately 77 per cent male and 23 per cent female.
Average cost of a funeral
What is the average cost of a Public Health funeral in Lambeth?
Between £1,000 and £3,000 depending on religion, location, burial or cremation.
Notifying family and next of kin
What efforts are typically made to try to contact next of kin?
Via the Police or local contacts, doctors, social workers, friends or work colleagues.
Where appropriate a search of the deceased’s property will be undertaken to attempt to find paperwork which will help trace relatives.
The services of a professional genealogist may also be employed as officers will make every effort to identify next of kin prior to a funeral taking place. Such searches normally last a few weeks, but can take several months.
Is the Bereavement Services officer obliged to notify the family members or next of kin if they are not already aware of the death?
The next of kin will always be informed of a death immediately as soon as the contact details become available.
What procedure does the council follow in order to notify family members of the death?
On receipt of a funeral referral the Bereavement Services officer will make contact with relatives, friends and work associates, if known within 48 hours to confirm the department’s involvement or after information has been gathered to make contact.
If family members or next of kin have not been located, does Lambeth Council place a public or legal notice?
Due to historically poor responses Lambeth Council does not commission a public notice for a death.
Legal notices will be used by the Government Legal Department if deemed appropriate when a case is referred to them by the council.
Notifying other organisations
Does the council refer information to the Government Legal Department, QLTR, NUHU, Duchy of Cornwall, Duchy of Lancaster and, or Farrer & Co?
We refer all appropriate information to the Government Legal Department relating to the estate and the outcome of any investigation carried out by Lambeth. Such information will be relayed by the Bereavement Services officer.
Does the council use a solicitor in matters of probate?
We have never claimed probate and will never do this as it is not within our remit.
Use of funeral directors
What is the name of the contracted funeral director the council uses and how often do you change the funeral directors?
Lambeth currently manages all funerals in house within the team, this is overseen by the Bereavement Services Manager.
Freedom of Information requests
I would like the following information about people who have died in Lambeth and had a Public Health Funeral: names, dates of death, age or date of birth, place of birth, marital status, usual address at the time of death and value of estate if any?
This information is exempt under Section 41(1)(b) – information provided in confidence and Section 31(1) (a) – law enforcement, of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 41(1)(b).
This exemption covers situations where the information was obtained by Lambeth from another person and its disclosure to the public would constitute a breach of confidence.
Guidance on this exception and our opinion is that the exemption will continue to apply after the death of a person concerned. This has been confirmed by case law, Pauline Buck verses Information Commissioner and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Although a personal representative may not be known at a later date he duty would still be legally enforceable by the deceased’s personal representative (The person or people who administer the deceased’s estate under the law relating to will’s and probate. The relevant person does not need to be identified. The important issue is to establish in principle that a persona representative might exist, who can take action against the council releasing the information. This is an absolute exemption and therefore not subject to the public interest test.
Section 31(1)(a) Is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the Public Interest Test.
Section 31(1)(a) provides an exemption where prejudice could be caused to other investigations and to general steps taken in relation to law enforcement in that disclosure of this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime by enabling or encouraging the commission of offences, for instance fraud.
In applying this exemption we have to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosure. The Council has concluded that the public interest test favours non-disclosure because although disclosure of this information could ultimately lead to the next of kin becoming aware of a deceased person and promote general openness of information by crime although disclosure of personal information such as names, dates of birth and last known address. Releasing this information could lead to identity theft and /or fraud or alternatively, through releasing the last known property address which is quite likely to be empty, could ultimately lead to crime such as burglary and squatting.
Therefore in conclusion, we are of the opinion that the balance of public interest favours nondisclosure of this information in all circumstances of the case.