Newspaper investigation reveals rise in public health funerals

The Mirror newspaper has revealed massive rises in the number of people requiring a public health funeral in 2020, often referred to as a pauper’s funeral.

A public health funeral is a basic, no-frills service that is paid for by the local authority in cases where someone dies in poverty and their next of kin cannot be found or don’t come forward.

The paper’s Freedom of Information investigation compare data from 362 out of 371 councils in Britain and found there were 5,875 public health funerals last year, with the true total likely to be not far off 6,000 – or one in 100 deaths.

Twenty-six percent increase

The figures mark a 26 percent increase on 2019. The increase is thought to be due to several factors – rising funeral costs, the increase in the numbers of people living and dying alone, and poverty.

Among those who ended up having a public health funeral in 2020 were “Baby Ruja”, who died on the same day she was born in Doncaster and whose body was cremated four months later. The oldest people were 101-year-old Frances Oldridge from Southampton and 103-year-old Maximo Andreo in North London.

Christina Martin who works for Wealden Council’s environmental health department in East Sussex organised and attended 11 public health funerals last year, up from four the previous year. She does not think the pandemic is responsible for most of the increase in numbers.

Funding a big issue

While she attended a couple of Covid funerals, she told The Mirror, the overall contributor seemed to be the ageing population and people not having a traditional family set up. Funding was another big issue, as basic funerals can cost as much as £4,000.

The Department for Work and Pensions has means-tested support for some cases, such as the death of a child or if a family claims certain benefits.

Christina explained that public health funeral were needed for bodies that hadn’t been dealt with. Her job was to go in after the police and ambulance services have left and do a more thorough search, looking for any documentation in houses that might help her find relatives. She also looks for valuables so that they can be added to a person’s estate and used to offset the funeral costs.

Council responsibility

Wealden Council was able to reclaim its costs in full from the deceased’s estate in seven out of last year’s 11 cases. Public health funerals are the responsibility of the council where the person dies.

Danny Curran, Finders International’s CEO and founder, said: “Thanks to our experience searching for next of kin when people die intestate, we can find the relatives of almost anyone very quickly.

“Local authorities and NHS trusts can apply to our funeral fund for a subsidy payment that can go towards the cost of public health funerals. These will be cases where there genuinely are no known next of kin (rather than next of kin simply refusing to pay) and Finders will carry out research to confirm this. For more information or to apply for a subsidy, simply contact us at [email protected] or call Freephone 0800 085 8796.”

 

The Public Health Funerals Information Service (PHFIS) is a free resource for those dealing with Public Health Act Funerals. Click through to our homepage here: www.Publichealthfunerals.org to find out more about our news, resources and events.


Bereavement Services E-Conference | 7th October 2021 | 10:30am

Bereavement Services E-Conference

7th October 2021  |  10:30am

Cost: FREE

Register Here

Estimated length of event: 1hr 15 minutes

Introducing a new event category,  in which the main aim is to provide up-to-date information on topics which will enable staff to: quickly and effectively signpost bereaved families to support networks; to highlight the work of relevant external agencies; to appreciate and promote the importance of professional Bereavement Services; and to recognise the personal impact of this work and prioritise self-care.

This particular event focuses on the wellbeing of bereaved families and bereavement professionals through information, and by raising awareness of the support available for both.  Our speakers will be further informing on signposting resources, bereavement support and the concept of ‘moral injury’ in care provision during the pandemic.

Register now to receive updates on the event.

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]al.co.uk.


Our Speakers:

ataloss logo
JANE WOODWARD
Executive Director
At a Loss

DR SUZANNE SHALE
Independent Ethics Consultant, Member of General Medical Council, NHS NED
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust & Clearer Thinking


BETHAN HODGES
Senior Partnerships, Policy and Projects Coordinator
Missing People

LISA WRIGHT
Trauma Trainer and Advisor
Assist Trauma Care

katie-watsonfinders-logo
KATIE WATSON
Public Sector Manager
Finders International


Event Organiser:

 finders-logo
ELAINE RIDLEY
Public Sector Business Development Manager
Finders International

findersinterantional-cpd-member
For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event. We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]


If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback. For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

Register Here

PHFIS Public Health Act Funerals E-Conference | 23rd Sept 2021 | 10:30am

Register Here

Estimated length of event: 1 hr

Our 2021 installment of the Public Health Act Funerals E-Conference is aimed at environmental health practitioners and local authorities/ other professionals who are involved in PHA Funerals or so-called ‘Pauper’s’ Funerals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review of the Government’s non-statutory guidance and what it means for Local Authorities;
  • Assessing good practice when handling Public Health Act Funerals;
  • Identifying current weaknesses in procedures;
  • Evaluating how to support bereaved families in the process of arranging funerals.

Register now to receive updates on the event.

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]


Our Speakers:

julie-dunk ICCM
JULIE DUNK
Chief Executive
Institute of Cemetery and Crematory Management

Dave Lockwood   finders-logo
DAVID LOCKWOOD
Senior Business Development Manager
Finders International

LINDESAY MACE
Down to Earth Service Manager
Quaker Social Action


MAYA MAYBLIN
Senior Lecturer
The University of Edinburgh


Event Organiser:

Dave Lockwood finders-logo
DAVID LOCKWOOD
Senior Business Development Manager
Finders International

findersinterantional-cpd-member
For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event. We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]


If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback. For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

Register Here

Investigation conducted into Local’s Authorities approach to ‘Pauper’s Funerals’

The Guardian has reported that Councils in England and Wales are waiving their responsibility to provide Public Health act funerals, more commonly known as “pauper’s funerals.”

Quaker Social Action, an anti- poverty charity, stated that families of a low income, are often being turned away because they are not able to afford to pay for the burial or cremation of their loved ones.

Senior Business Manager at Finders International and spokesperson for the Public Health Funeral Information Service, David Lockwood, comments: “The article highlights the need for a unified approach by local authorities on this sensitive matter, at a time when the most vulnerable in our society need help navigating the perfect storm of the pandemic and cuts to council funding which have hit services up and down the country.

The non-statutory guidance issued by the ministry for housing, communities and local government was a good start, but the legislation needs to be updated and reflect the times in which we live.

Funeral poverty is a real issue for so many, the amount of people that have approached our advice line has more than doubled since the pandemic hit, funerals are too expensive, and a solution has to be found. Perhaps we need to revisit the idea of the DWP issuing a standard payment when someone passes away to cover the cost of a simple cremation? This would assist so many and ensure that when a Council has to make arrangements local budgets aren’t adversely affected.”

Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/06/uk-councils-failing-to-provide-paupers-funerals-investigation-reveals

The Public Health Funerals Information Service (PHFIS) is a free resource for those dealing with public health act funerals. Click through to our homepage here: www.Publichealthfunerals.org to find out more about our news, resources and events.


Hospitals E-Con Jun21

Hospital E-Conference | 10th June 2021 | 10:30am

Register Here

Estimated length of event: 1 hr 15 mins

We are delighted to bring you our next instalment of our Hospital focused events, with topics relevant to those working within bereavement services across the UK. We would also like to express our utmost appreciation and gratitude to our essential key workers for their dedication and bravery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of this event is to enhance the confidence of bereavement staff in effectively signposting the bereaved to support agencies, and to share best practice in bereavement services. Presentations with include: mental health awareness and support; public health funerals information; support available to Armed Services personnel and their families; and preventing young sudden cardiac deaths and the affected families.

Register now to receive updates on the event.

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]


Our Speakers:

photo of jake-mills chasing-the-stigma

JAKE MILLS
Chief Executive
Chasing the Stigma

photo of dr steven cox photo of cardiac risk in the young

DR STEVEN COX
Chief Executive Officer
CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young)

photo of nazia-nawaz ramsden

NAZIA NAWAZ
Partner
Ramsdens Solicitors

photo of frances robinson the armed forces charity

FRANCES ROBINSON
Additional Needs, Disability and Support Groups Service Manager
SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charities

katie-watson finders-logo

KATIE WATSON
Public Sector Manager
Finders International

 

Event Organiser:

Elaine-Ridley finders-logo

ELAINE RIDLEY
Public Sector Development Manager
Finders International

findersinterantional-cpd-member

chasing-the-stigma photo of cardiac risk in the youngramsdenthe armed forces charity finders-logo

 

For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event. We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]


If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback. For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

Register Here

Coroners Service E-Conference | 20th May 2021 | 10:30am

Register Here

Estimated length of event: 1 hr

This e-conference is aimed at hospital and coroner staff. Presentations will include topics such as post mortems; the homeless community and death by suicide; support available to bereaved parents; and a new initiative that seeks to limit the burden placed upon the bereaved in having to contact multiple agencies to advise when a death has occurred.  More information to follow.

Learning Objectives:

  • Insight into the support provided by The Compassionate Friends organisation toward bereaved families, enhancing confidence when signposting the bereaved.
  • Awareness of research into suicidality within the homeless community and the recommendations from the research which could lead to a reduction in death by suicide.
  • Current advancements in post-mortem imaging, results and development.
  • Awareness of ‘Settld’ as an additional service for the bereaved in dealing with financial matters. Confidence to share this information with next of kin to reduce their burden of practical matters while dealing with their loss.

Register now to receive updates on the event.

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]

 

Our Speakers:

Image of Andrew-Miller

ANDREW MILLER QC
Chair of Trustees
The Compassionate Friends
Compassionate Friends will explain the support available to bereaved parents (of any age) and highlight resources available.  This information should encourage staff to signpost the bereaved confidently and more effectively.

 

image of lorna-bojniclogo of manchester1824

LANA BOJANIĆ
Research Assistant
The University of Manchester
NCISH will provide insight into the plight of the homeless community and changes which could be made to reduce the number of suicides within this community. The information contained within this study could enhance the recommendations made by Coroners within their Inquest conclusions.

 

image of peter-coulson-smithlogo of digital autopsy

PETER COULSON-SMITH
Business Development Executive
iGene Post Mortem Imaging
iGene post mortem imaging will provide staff with an understanding of how this work has developed and is being utilised in various parts of the country. There has been a huge reduction in the number of pathologists available to carry out standard post mortems and therefore imperative that Coroners staff are aware of the alternative options for future planning.

 

image of vicky wilsonlogo of settld

VICKY WILSON
CEO & Co-Founder
Settld
‘Settld’ is a new initiative established to provide a parallel service to the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which seeks to limit the burden placed upon the bereaved in having to contact multiple agencies to advise when a death has occurred. Knowledge of this service and confidence to signpost the bereaved has huge potential to limit this additional distress for families. To read more about ‘The Bereavement Standard’ campaign and sign the petition, scroll to the end of the page.

 

Event Organiser:

Elaine-Ridleyfinders-logo

ELAINE RIDLEY
Public Sector Development Manager
Finders International

 

logo of manchester1824logo of digital autopsylogo of settldfinders-logo


This event is CPD accredited, and contributes to 1 hour of CPD.

If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback. For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event. We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]

Register Here

Coroners - Bereavement Standard Campaign (1)

The Bereavement Standard would establish:

  1. An agreed timeframefor companies to respond to bereavement enquiries and settle outstanding customer balances.
  2. A bereavement customer care email channelfor each company, to directly handle such cases and avoid customers waiting on calls.
  3. The standardisation of paperworkneeded to close an account, with a view to accepting digital documents whenever possible.

The Bereavement Standard will make it easier for families going through a difficult time. Please sign the campaign to help Settld, help others.

To sign the petition, please follow the link here


Hospital E-Con 2

Hospital E-Conference 4th February 2021 | 10:30am

Register Here

If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback.
For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

Cost: FREE

Estimated length of event: 1 hr 30 mins

We are delighted to bring you our next instalment of our Hospital focused events, with topics relevant to those working within and in association with Hospitals across the UK. We would also like to express the utmost appreciation and gratitude to our essential key workers for their dedication and bravery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register for the event to begin receiving e-conference updates. 

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]

 

Our Speakers:

speaker-tba  nhs
DR METTE RODGERS
London Lead Medical Examiner
NHS Medical Examiner System

toby    end-of-life
TOBY LEE MANNING & ALY DICKINSON
End of Life Doulas
End of Life Doula UK

andy  cruse-bereavement-care
ANDY LANGFORD
Clinical Director
Cruse Bereavement Care

speaker-tba  mhfa

A PRESENTATION FROM:
Mental Health First Aid England

 

Event Organiser:

Elaine-Ridley  finders-logo
ELAINE RIDLEY
Public Sector Development Manager
Finders International

 

nhsend-of-lifemhfa  cruse-bereavement-carefinders-logo

For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event., We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]

This event is CPD accredited, and contributes to 1 hour of CPD.

CPD LOGO

Register Here

The year of COVID-19 – and resilience at its finest

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for us all and, as it can be assumed that no one has been left untouched by the virus in some way or another, it would be understandable if you were to describe it negatively.

However, the single word I would use to describe this year would be ‘resilient’.

The definition, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘[they] showed great courage and resilience in fighting back from a losing position to win the game’.

While in no way do I imply 2020 has been a game, it is how you respond in the face of adversity. For local authorities, a pandemic will have been prepared for with emergency plans being put into place after years of endless preparation. Staff have had to adapt overnight from working in offices to working from home.  The challenges to IT teams have been immense and the strain on already overstretched resources may have even led to sleepless nights for staff struggling to ensure services continue whilst still keeping themselves and colleagues safe.

Similarly, Finders International have had to change with the majority of staff working remotely. While it has been easier for Finders to diverge operations given the smaller scale of staff, it was no mean feat to undertake. Physical resources have been closed, which presented a few issues, however online resources remained available and Finders were able to continue tracing next of kin as usual.

Personally, 2020 has meant I have seen a change in the way I work with face-to-face meetings being postponed. Over the past two and a half years prior to the lockdown, I have had the privilege of meeting many of you in person whether that be in your offices or at one of the many events we have successfully run across the country.

However, in late February it was beginning to look like things were needing to change and quickly as the realisation dawned on many that this crippling virus was not going to go away. Our events were postponed, and we moved our conferences online. Zoom became the new normal with our speakers recording their presentations for our events. Staff have had to adapt, learn and develop new skills to ensure that we provide a quality offering online. Websites have been amended to better suit changing needs, requiring the whole team to pull together.

While we usually have one PHA Funeral event a year, we provided two this year and we have further provided separate events for deputyship teams, private client solicitors, hospitals and coroners, which we are proud to have successfully organised receiving excellent feedback. Furthermore, for each feedback form completed, we donated money to charities working hard to support those that need it the most during this turbulent year.

Whilst we may not know when, or if, things will return to normal, we have still been able to support teams, provide quality material and engage via video conferencing. In the face of adversity, I think we have all shown great resilience and we are looking to further excel our drive to supporting the public sector into 2021 – a year we are all looking upon optimistically.

Have a peaceful and relaxing festive season, but of overwhelmingly more importance, keep well and keep safe.

Hope to see you in 2021.

David Lockwood – Finders International

 

The PHFIS is intended as a guide for local authorities and hospitals who deal with public health funerals. If you would like to learn more about the PHFIS, watch our past events or require assistance, you can further explore our website here. Alternatively, you can telephone: +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email: [email protected].


Coroners Service E-Con 2021 - Promo 2

Coroner’s Service E-Conference | 21st January 2021 | 10:30am

Register Here

If you have watched this event, we would love your feedback. Please click here to leave us some feedback.
For every feedback form filled, we will donate £1 to our chosen charities – Age UK & Young Minds.

Estimated length of event: 1 hr 30 mins 

We are excited to bring you our next instalment of Coroner focused events, striving to provide useful information to Coroners Service staff, as we continue our commitment to supporting the public sector.

We will be announcing the speakers topics within the new year. Register for the event to begin receiving email updates. 

If you have any further questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers at: [email protected]

Our Speakers

ron d  sepsis-trus-logo
DR RON DANIELS
Chief Executive Officer
The UK Sepsis Trust

  mbrrace-uk
PROF. MARIAN KNIGHT
Maternal Programme Lead
MBRRACE-UK

victoria-lebrec road-peace
VICTORIA LEBREC
Head of Policy, Campaigns & Communications
RoadPeace

christine
REV. CHRISTINE COPSEY
Coroners Chaplain
Norwich County Hall

Event Organiser

Elaine-Ridley  finders-logo
ELAINE RIDLEY
Public Sector Development Manager
Finders International

sepsis-trus-logombrrace-ukroad-peacefinders-logo

For those with hearing impairments, we can provide a subtitled version of the event., We can also provide translated subtitles in your chosen language. To request this, please contact us at: [email protected]

This event is CPD accredited, and contributes to 1 hour of CPD.

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Register Here

Family Relationships Chart

BBC Kent Radio talks to our Dementia Champion

Our very own David Lockwood is invited on to BBC Radio Kent’s morning show again this week. This time to discuss his role as a Dementia Friends Champion and how he provides training via Finders International to clients and staff as well as those at this local football club.

Dementia friends, run by Alzheimer’s Society, is an initiative about understanding the condition and making our communities better places to live for those dealing with dementia.

David’s role as Dementia Friends Champion is to encourage others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help. If you and your team would like to become Dementia friends, you can book in a Dementia Friends session (a 45 min presentation) with David via the following email [email protected] . Otherwise, visit https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBArticle?page=become-dementia-friend for more information.