Daily Mirror highlights Funeral Poverty issues

The Daily Mirror has recently highlighted the growing issue of Funeral Poverty and how it can affect individuals.

The article, published on the 10th July, highlights the issues that surround the death of a loved one and the problems it can leave bereaved families with the rising costs of funeral provision.

Read the full article here Daily Mirror Article


ICCM Public Health Act Funerals Policy Statement

Following recent media reports on provision of PHA funerals the ICCM has published a policy statement on their website outlining the duties of each local authority providing PHA Funerals.

The statement calls for all local authorities with the statutory responsibility for providing a service to publish their policies on their website, setting out clear guidelines to the public and calling for the words "paupers" and "destitute" to be avoided due to their insensative nature.

You can read the Policy Statement here:

ICCM POLICY STATEMENT


Vicar calls for community to 'come together'

 

You can read the full article, here: www.nwemail.co.uk


ITN highlight rise in “Paupers” Funerals

ITN highlighted the rise of funerals undertaken by Local Authorities and the difference in services provided by Authorities on their main news bulletins on Friday 15th June.

Watch the report and read more about it on the ITV news website.

ITV News Report


Death in Data

A recent article on the BBC website highlighted an expected spike in deaths over the next few years, thus adding to pressure already placed on Local Authorities carrying out Public Health Act funerals.

As life expectancies rise the amount of deaths naturally falls but those people will inevitably pass away at some stage leading to the expected increase.

With the recent Royal London report highlighting the rise in provision of Public Health Act Funerals by Local Authorities it seems that there may be a perfect storm brewing from Councils already suffering from dramatic budget cuts over the past few years.

The BBC article stems from research and a campaign to raise awareness by the Dying Matters Campaign. The article states that "Talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished. And it will make it easier for your loved ones if they know you have had a 'good death'."

You can read the full article on the BBC website here.

 

 

 


Finding relatives

A recent post to the Funeral Service times has highlighted how Finder International undertakes work to try and ensure that a deceased person has their relatives attend their funeral.

The article can be read on the Funeral Service Times website:

Funeral Service Times Article


Funeral prices and plans to be reviewed

UK funeral prices to be probed

The BBC is reporting that there are to be two separate reviews carried out by the government into the price of funerals and concerns over pre-paid funeral plans.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is reviewing funeral costs, "to ensure that people are not getting a bad deal". The investigation will focus on funeral prices to ensure that the public are getting a fair deal. The article goes on to state that the average cost of a funeral in 2017 was £3,800.

Meanwhile the Treasury has started a review of pre paid funeral plans following complaints from consumer groups that people are finding they have to pay additional costs not covered in a plan that were originally thought to be included. The outcome could be tougher regulation.

The full article can be read here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44327899

Finders International have their Finders International Funeral Fund to support Local Authorities with the responsibility of carrying out pre-paid funerals. Payments from the fund can be applied for by a Local Authority who has had to arrange and pay for the funeral of a resident with no known next of kin or any assets. The fund isn't open to the general public, but Finders have had an increase in enquiries from the public for support to pay for Funerals.

Help and advice is available from Quaker Social Action, who have been campaigning relentlessly to highlight the growing problem of funeral poverty.

More details on QSA can be found on their website:

https://www.quakersocialaction.org.uk/we-can-help/helping-funerals/down-earth

 


The Rising Number of Public Health Funerals

Sometimes called ‘pauper’s funerals’, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 places a statutory duty on councils and health boards to bury or cremate anyone who has died or been found dead in their local area if no other arrangements have been made or are being made otherwise.

In recent years, the numbers of such funerals have soared because of rising funeral costs and the increase in the numbers of people dying alone. A Royal London report at the beginning of the year reported that local authorities spent more than £4 million on public health funerals in 2015/16, an increase of 12 percent over the last five years.

At the same time, the cost of public health funerals increased by 36 percent. Freedom of Information data taken from 260 councils revealed that 3,784 public health funerals took place in 2015/16. The biggest percentage increase in public health funerals was for councils in the East of England—up 36 percent.

London local authorities experienced the most significant increase in costs, with a 51 percent rise in the average funeral cost - £1,004 in 2015/16, compared to £666 in 2011/12.

Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry, said it was always upsetting when the deceased had no one to arrange a funeral, or that their family simply couldn’t afford the expense. It was clear, she added, that councils were facing increasing pressure to accommodate the number of public health funerals and that the Government needed to take urgent action to tackle rising funeral poverty.

A Devonshire report earlier this month backed the national trend. Torbay Council spent more than £45,000 paying for public health funerals in 2017/18—a total of 25 funerals. In its worst year (2015/16), the council paid for 36 funerals.

Nick Pannell from the Friends of Factory Row, a homeless hostel in Torquay, said each of the public health funerals were a “personal tragedy”, and that the area had a “vulnerable, homeless population”.

What happens at a public health funeral? The service varies between areas, but it’s mostly a “no-frills” event that includes the collection and storage of a body, a basic coffin, burial in a public grave or a cremation, and vehicle/bearers to transport and help in the burial of the deceased. The local authority or health board decides on the funeral director, date and time and family members can attend if they wish—providing they can be located.

David Lockwood, Finders International’s public sector development manager, said: “Finders International runs a funeral fund which can be accessed by local authorities and health boards. We’ve pledged to put £10,000 a year into this important fund as this isn’t an issue that’s going to go away.

“Sadly, Torbay Council’s experience isn’t limited to that area. Across the UK, councils and health boards face the same problem.”

You can read more information about the Finders International Funeral Fund here.


Costs Soar for Public Health Act Funerals

Sometimes referred to as ‘pauper’s funerals’, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 confers a statutory duty on councils and health boards to “to cause to be buried or cremated the body of any person who has died or been found dead in their area, in any case where it appears to the authority that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been made or are being made otherwise”.

In recent years, numbers of such funerals have soared thanks to rising funeral costs and the increase in people dying alone. A Royal London report found that councils spent £4 million on public health funerals in 2015/16, an increase of 12 percent over the last five years. At the same time, the cost of public health funerals increased by 36 percent.

Freedom of Information data from 260 local authorities showed that some 3,784 public health funerals took place in 2015/16. The biggest percentage increase in public health act funerals was for councils in the East of England – up 36 percent.

London local authorities saw the largest financial increase in costs, with a 51 percent increase in the average funeral cost – £1,004 in 2015/16, compared to £666 in 2011/12.

What’s included in a public health act funeral? The service varies between authorities with no standard procedure, but it usually involves the collection and storage of a body, a coffin (basic, or standard), burial in a public grave or cremation, and vehicle/bearers to transport and help in the burial of the deceased.
A public grave is an unpurchased grave which doesn’t allow for the purchase of a monument or memorial and may be shared with another person. A public health act funeral might also involve what is called direct burial or cremation. This means the body is buried or burned without a service to mark the occasion.

Because of the pressure on numbers of burial sites, increasing numbers of local authorities must opt for cremation rather than burial. Cremations are cheaper too.
David Lockwood, Finders International’s public sector development manager, said: “As an ethical organisation, it’s important for Finders International to give something back to the area in which we work. Finders has pledged to put £10,000 a year into this important fund."

Details of the FIFF can be found on Finders International Website  - http://www.findersinternational.co.uk/our-services/public-sector-services/funeral-fund/

 


Finders International Funeral Fund Helps Doncaster Council With Costs

We were delighted to be able to put our Finders International Funeral Fund to good use recently in the case of a Doncaster man who died earlier this year with no apparent next of kin.

We were contacted by Doncaster Council, who applied for the fund. We set the fund up two years ago in response to the growing number of Public Health funerals (sometimes referred to as ‘pauper’ funerals). The cost to local authorities in 2015 was £1.7 million, and this figure is bound to have
increased since then.

Section 46 (1) Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 places a duty on councils to “cause to be buried or cremated the body of any person who has died or been found dead in their area” where it appears there are no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been or are being
made.

Councils are obliged to do everything in their power to locate living relatives or friends of the deceased to pass this responsibility on, but in some cases, no friends or family can be found.

The insurance company Sunlife calculates that the average cost of dying in the UK is now a whopping £8,905 – a 1.2 percent rise in a year and an increase of more than 50 percent since the business first started tracking this cost ten years ago.

Sunlife’s figure comes from the cost of a basic funeral, the send-off (flowers, venue hire, catering, limos, a gravestone etc.) and hiring a professional to administer the dead person’s estate.

Doncaster Council applied to the fund to help with the funeral costs of a 66-year-old man who died in February with no known next of kin. We carried out research to confirm this and found it to be correct. We were able to pay for half the costs of the funeral.

Danny Curran, Finders International’s founder and managing director, said: “At Finders International, giving back to the community is part of our ethos. We were delighted to be able to help in this case. If the trend for the increase in Public Health funerals and costs continues, it’s likely this will reach a staggering £5 million by the year 2030, expenditures that our hard-pushed local authorities cannot afford.

“When councils apply for a subsidy payment from us, we carry out the research to check if there are genuinely no family members who can pay, rather than next of kin who just refuse to pay. Then, we will award payments from the fund if the criteria are met.”

To find out more about the Finders International Funeral Fund, see the information here. You can also contact us on 0800 085 8796 or email [email protected]