Website URL : http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1410

Assisted burial

Public Health Funerals
and Treasury Solicitor (Bona Vacantia estates)

Public Funerals
We along with many other local authorities, have recently been experiencing a high volume of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from companies and individuals offering to trace the next of kin of persons who's funeral has been dealt with under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984. In response to the volume of FOI requests on this subject we have created this page to make public all such cases we become involved with, some of which we refer to the Treasury Solicitor.  In this way we are able to refer those requesting information on this subject to this page which in turn enables us to deal with such requests pursuant to section 21 of the FOI Act (information accessible to applicant by other means).

The Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984
Under this Act, where no suitable funeral arrangements have been made, or are being made, for a deceased person who has died in Cherwell District Council, public bodies including Cherwell District Council have a duty to arrange the funeral.  This will be a basic funeral to minimise the cost to the local tax payer.

Circumstances in which we will not arrange a funeral.

  • We will not part fund a funeral if funeral arrangements have already been made, such as instructions to a Funeral Director, we will not be responsible for any costs incurred.  
  • If the person dies whilst in-patient at hospital - an agreement exists whereby the hospital will deal with the funeral arrangements.
  • If the person dies in a nursing home - funeral arrangements are normally made by relatives or social services, as they will often be managing the finances of the deceased.
  • If the deceased was having their money managed by social services.
  • If the relatives of the deceased cannot afford to pay for the funeral. Relatives should be referred to the local Jobcentre plus or social security office, as they may qualify for financial assistance under The Social Fund (April 2004) regulations.

We will take responsibility if the person dies on the street or in their own home, and there are no relatives or friends willing to take responsibility (financial or otherwise) for the funeral arrangements. Notification is normally received via the coroner's office in most cases.

Reclaiming the costs
Under the Act the funeral costs are the first expenses claimed on any estate. We are entitled to collect any and all sums of money due to or belonging to the deceased and to sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs of the funeral and expenses. 

If, after we have deducted the funeral and associated costs:

  • the remaining estate is over £500
  • there are no other bills outstanding
  • no known next of kin

we refer the remaining estate to the Treasury Solicitor in accordance with their guidelines for referring 'Bona Vacantia' estates.

Although Bona Vacantia referrals are not a frequent occurrence, they do happen from time to time.

Details of Deceased.

Please note that the Council is not the only public body that refers estates to the Treasury Solicitor for the district of Cherwell.

List of assisted burials
Name   Address*    Date of Death  Next of kin 

 Referred
     to
 Treasury
 Solicitor (if
 applicable) 

 W Little Banbury 02/04/2017      Yes      No
 J A Bishop Adderbury 08/04/2016      Yes      No
 S R Sirdefield Banbury 16/03/2016      Yes      No
 R P Tucker Bicester 29/09/2015      No      No
 D Walgate Banbury 17/09/2015      Yes      No
 V M Chatzidimitriou Banbury 21/12/2014      Yes      No
 H Carlton Banbury 23/08/2014      No      No
 S Young Banbury 20/05/2014      No

      No

 A Gale Banbury 15/01/2014      Yes      No
 N Briggs Charlbury 19/11/2013      Yes

      No

 M J Frapple Banbury 31/10/2013      Yes      No
 D W Litchfield Bicester 19/10/2013      Yes      No
 P Mackay No Fixed abode 12/08/2013      Yes

      No

 J M Hale Banbury 07/03/2013      Yes      No
 C C Hirons Banbury 04/12/2012      Yes      No
 A M Wilson Banbury 15/09/2012      Yes      No
 L Asquith Upper Heyford   14/08/2012      Yes      No
 G W Taylor Merton 16/04/2012      Yes      No
 A L Bushnell Kidlington 17/04/2012      No      No
 A R Vine Wroxton 19/11/2011      Yes      No
 I McGinlay Bloxham 26/12/2011      Yes      No
 A Suthanun Bicester 14/12/2010      Yes      No
 P K Stevens Banbury 20/05/2010      No      No
 N Harvey Banbury 19/12/2010      Yes      No
 I E N Farquhar   Kidlington 16/12/2010      Yes      No
 M E Branigan Banbury 23/06/2010      Yes

      No

*In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 addresses have been redacted or withheld under the following exemption:

Section 31(1)(a) - law enforcement (prevention and detection of crime).
We will not disclose address details where they relate to deceased's empty properties as the property is likely to be unoccupied and might still contain the deceased's personal papers and effects. We do not believe it to be in the public interest to disclose information relating to empty properties prior to a full and thorough securing of the assets of the estate as undertaken by the Treasury Solicitor

Oxfordshire Registry Office
All deaths have to be registered with the local registrar. Please see link to the right. Information regarding date and place of birth and place of death can be obtained from there.

Bona Vacantia
The Bona Vacantia department of the Treasury Solicitors office administer the estates of persons who die intestate without known kin and collect the assets of dissolved companies and failed trusts. Please see link to the right.

If you have any queries please email Environmental Protection or call 01327 322323.

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