Public Health Funeral

Public health funerals are funerals arranged under The Public Health (Control of Disease Act) 1984.

The duty of Colchester Borough Council

Where no suitable funeral arrangements have been made, or are being made, for a deceased person who has died in Colchester Borough, the Council may have a duty to organise the funeral. This can be because there are not enough funds in the estate of the deceased to pay for the funeral or if family and friends do not have the financial means of organising the funeral themselves, or if there is nobody available who is willing to organise the funeral.

If details of family and friends are found they will be informed of the death and invited to make the funeral arrangements. If it is not possible to contact a family member, or if family and friends do not have the means, the cost of a basic funeral, or part of the cost, will be met by the Council.

Recovering the funeral costs

Where possible the cost of the funeral will be recovered from the estate of the deceased or from a family member.

If the deceased left items of value (for example; furniture, electrical goods, jewellery or other personal effects) arrangements will be made for the disposal of these items and any money recovered will go towards the cost of the funeral. Likewise if there was a pension or insurance policy, money in a bank, post office or building society account, the money will be claimed and used to help pay for the funeral.

Referring the estate to the Treasury Solicitor

When all costs are known, and if the value of the estate exceeds the cost of the funeral, the Treasury Solicitor will be informed.

Deceased with a public health funeral

This list shows the names of deceased persons for whom funerals were organised by Colchester Borough Council under The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

View the Public Health funeral list

The list is updated regularly.

Colchester Borough Council does not provide additional information about deceased persons given Public Health Funerals, because we consider that Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to this information:

Section 31 states that information is exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if to provide the information would, or would be likely, to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

Colchester Borough Council considers that the release of the names, full addresses, dates of birth, and/or value of estates of the deceased individuals may provide an opportunity for a crime to be committed. 

The property of these deceased individuals could be unoccupied, and may still contain the deceased's personal papers and effects, or could be legally occupied by another person. There is, therefore, a risk of illicit occupation, of theft and fraud (including identity fraud), anti-social behaviour, and possible danger to living individuals from the disclosure of this information. 

The Treasury Solicitor secures the assets of deceased persons, when there are no apparent living relatives and when the estate stands at a certain amount after funeral expenses have been paid, and places a caveat on the estate of the deceased with the Probate Registry before they publish minimal information about the deceased. Revealing further information about individuals who have died with no next of kin, before steps to secure the assets have been taken could provide a risk of criminal acts being committed.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department publish details of most estates valued at £500 or more on the website,, once their initial enquiries have been completed. Details of most of the estates are therefore available to an applicant at a later stage, once property has been safeguarded by the Treasury Solicitor.

Page last reviewed: 22 December 2021