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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 6.00pm on Monday 2 October until 8.00am on Tuesday 3 October: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Public health funerals

We have a duty to dispose of a deceased body under the provisions of the National Assistance and the Public Health (Control of Disease) Acts 1948, if the person who died has no assets or if there are no relatives who can make funeral arrangements.

Hospitals and care homes may also be able to help if the person dies while in their care. Initial contact is usually through the Coroner.

If the next of kin is known, contact will be made to establish if they will accept responsibility. Legal responsibility for married couples rests with the spouse, and for children it rests with the parents.

We will only provide a basic funeral and will not pay for the following:

  • notices in newspapers
  • flowers
  • transport (other than the hearse)
  • church service/minister fees

Where no one is prepared to accept responsibility for the funeral or estate, we will then deal with these matters and recover the costs if there are sufficient funds available.

If known, the deceased's wishes will be observed, for example, cremation as opposed to burial. However, if a burial is undertaken it will be in an un-purchased grave and therefore no headstone can be erected.

Public health funeral records

The  Icon for pdf list of public health funerals November 2022 (PDF, 212.7kb)  document provides a list of people who died with no next of kin and we arranged their funeral.

If you require further information, please contact us.


Contact us
Public Funerals
03000 265 609
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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