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Public Health Funerals and Deaths Reported to the Treasury Solicitor

If somebody dies and it appears that no suitable arrangements have been made then Dudley Council has a responsibility to make sure that a person receives a simple burial or cremation (Section 46 of the 1984 Public Health Act).

Before arranging a person’s funeral we will make enquiries as to the existence of a will, any relatives who are able to deal with the arrangements, or funds to pay for the funeral. In some cases this will include making a search of the deceased’s house.  We will ensure this process is carried out in a sensitive and dignified way.

Treasury Solicitor

In cases where we have arranged the funeral of a person whose finances we have managed, and there is no will, no known next of kin and there are funds remaining in the deceased person’s estate following payment of funeral expenses, the estate will be referred to The Treasury Solicitor who administers the estates of persons who die intestate without next of kin.  The Treasury Solicitor then administers the estate of the deceased person and publishes such cases on their website. All information that may be disclosed by the council pursuant to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) in relation to a deceased person is available from the Treasury Solicitor’s website.

Freedom of Information

In response to the volume of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for public funeral information, we have developed this area to publish a list of public health funerals we have carried out. This information will be updated quarterly. As such, all individual requesters will be directed to this page to ensure organisations, working to trace the next of kin, will have access to the same information at the same time.

Dudley MBC does not disclose last known address details on the following basis:

FOI Act 2000 Section 31(1) – law enforcement (prevention and detection of crime)

  • The deceased’ s property may be unoccupied and might still contain the deceased’ s personal papers and effects.

     

FOI Act 2000 Section 40(2)

Provides an absolute exemption where disclosure of personal data about individuals would contravene any of the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Disclosure of addresses may affect living individuals. We do not believe that living individuals currently residing at the addresses where the deceased persons lived would expect their personal data to be made available in the public domain without their consent.

Section 22 of the FOI Act

Any FOI requests received in relation to these matters received prior to the next planned publication date will be refused using the exemption under Section 22 of the FOI Act as it is information that we hold with the intention of publishing at some future (pre-scheduled) date. The existing information available to you demonstrates that the Council has a process in place to regularly and routinely publish this information. The Council recognises that at times information outside of this routine publication may be requested and that the Council should be open and transparent in its operations and more up to date information may assist this. The information is, however, freely available on the Council’s website, and there is a statutory duty and timescale for publication. In accordance with the publication schedule quality and accuracy of information is checked. To provide information outside of this schedule may impede the process and potentially impact on the quality and accuracy of the material disclosed. As a consequence, having considered the balance of public interest in favour of both withholding and disclosing information, the Council considers that the arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption outweigh the arguments in favour of disclosing it.

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