Public health funerals

What criteria must be met for the council to fund someone’s funeral.

When we will take responsibility for a funeral

We will only take responsibility for the arrangements for funerals and estates in extreme circumstances.

We have a duty under section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act of 1984 to "cause to be buried or cremated the body of any person who has died or found to be dead" within Westmorland and Furness and where it appears "that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been, or are being made".

We are entitled to recover the costs of the funeral from the estate of the deceased, in the form of a civil debt recoverable within 3 years. 

In Westmorland and Furness, Public Health burials are very simple and usually take the form of either a simple service followed by cremation or a burial in an unpurchased grave space within one of the council run cemeteries. There is likely to be a very limited service and extra costs are kept to a minimum.

We will not part-fund a funeral. Should a person require financial assistance in arranging the funeral, they should contact their local Social Security office, Jobcentre Plus office, or Pension Service for further information.

Funerals we have arranged

A list of public health funerals carried out by Westmorland & Furness Council is available by contacting Freedom of Information and submitting a request to

This list contains the individuals date of death, age, gender, confirmation of burial, funeral cost and whether the case was referred to the Treasury Solicitor. This list does not contain the individuals first name, surname, date of birth or last known address. This information is withheld to prevent crime and fraud.