Public health funeral numbers soar in 2020/21 - but at no extra cost to the council
- Credit: PA
The number of public health funerals in Havering almost doubled in 2020/21 when compared to the three years prior.
Public health funerals are provided by local authorities when the deceased’s family members are unable or unwilling to organise it themselves.
Costs are recouped as far as possible by the council, but family members do not take a role in organising the funeral.
According to data from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, Havering Council recorded 40 public health funerals in 2020/21 as the pandemic was raging across the world.
This is a significant jump on the 24 from 2019/20, the 21 from 2018/19, and 2017/18’s 20.
However, the only year the local authority recorded any expenditure from these funerals since 2017 is in that year to 2018, in which they cost the council £4,962.
It told the Recorder this is because in most cases, a client has enough funds to pay for the funeral, and so there is no outstanding cost.
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Prior to 2018, the cost to the local authority was also higher. For example, a cremation would have cost Havering Council £1,452. Since 2018, the fee has been £1,050.
Havering Council was approached for comment but said it had nothing to add.