Public Health Act Funeral Guidance Published

Local authorities who have to deal with Public Health Funerals can now view a good practice guidance document that sets out the standards local authorities should adhere to when dealing with a deceased person who may require a Public Health Act Funeral.

The guidance, published by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, was written in response to local authority feedback and is to “protect public health and are important in ensuring that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their circumstances.”

Recommendations are that:

  • councils act considerately
  • make efforts to trace next of kin
  • adhere to any known wishes of the deceased
  • act in a transparent manner
  • attempt to recoup their costs as far as possible.

Public Sector Development Manager for Finders International, David Lockwood, said:

the guidance is long overdue and will help local authorities understand their collective responsibilities to provide a dignified service for the deceased and will help guide policies to ensure a minimum standard is set by all councils.

David, a former council officer responsible for Public Health funerals himself, went on to add: “I am pleased to see the guidance recognise the work undertaken by probate genealogists, such as Finders International, in this sensitive area; we already work with many local authorities providing a free service to trace next of kin.”

The guidance states that if using a genealogist: “it is important to carry out due diligence to help ensure satisfaction with the provider.” When looking at probate genealogy firms, or heir hunters as they are commonly known as, you should always check the company’s accreditations and credentials to ensure they are a genuine company.

You can identify a legitimate firm by checking if they have a landline, office address and credentials such as belonging to the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers (IAPPR).

You can read the full guidance here.


Finders International is an award-winning probate research firm.  Our regulations and credentials include the IAPPR, Friends Against Scams, we are approved APSE partners and are the first probate research firm to be approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).  For a full list of our credentials, please visit our website here.  Alternatively, you can call +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email [email protected]