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Local authority funerals

Sometimes Environmental Health must arrange funerals where the person has died within North Ayrshire. This may happen when:

a) the police have advised us that there is an unclaimed body, or

b) a person assuming the role of 'next of kin' has advised us that there is no close family able, or willing, to arrange the funeral.

In the case of b), we will not act immediately before committing to public expenditure. We need official notification that:

  • no one is making funeral arrangements
  • there are no known relatives or interested parties likely to do so

Official notification comes from the police in most occasions.

The duty of local authorities appears in the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 Section 87.

Death registration

In Scotland someone must register the death before a funeral may be arranged. 

In cases where the body is unclaimed, Environmental Health can register the death.

Funeral arrangements

We make arrangements for funerals with an undertaker. There may be information about burial of the deceased in an existing lair. If not, we will arrange a cremation at Holmsford Bridge Crematorium, Dreghorn.

Environmental Health is not obliged to keep interested parties updated about arrangements. If contacted, we will provide details about the date and time of the service. We scatter ashes in the Garden of Remembrance at Holmsford Bridge Crematorium. Contact us to agree alternative arrangements beforehand.

Please note: a family member wishing to arrange the funeral, but can't afford to pay for it, may be eligible for Funeral Support Payment. To speak to a Social Security Scotland advisor on freephone 0800 182 2222.

Recovery of costs

A Section 87 funeral is at public expense. We try to recover the cost from the deceased's estate. We settle the bill, then write to the person who made the request for a Section 87 funeral. We ask them to pass the letter to the solicitor winding up the deceased's affairs.

We pass information to the Ultimus Haeres section of the Procurator Fiscal Service, where there is no contact by a:

  • family member
  • nominal next of kin

Freedom of Information requests

View public health funerals arranged by Environmental Health since 2017.

The following is not available from North Ayrshire Council:

  • Name of Deceased, Maiden Surnames & Last Known Address - The Council considers this information to be exempt under Section 26(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Prohibition on Disclosure by another Enactment. The enactment under which the Council claims this exemption is Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998, which states it is unlawful to act in a way incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Convention Article in question is Article 8 which confers a right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence. The Council considers that this is information that relates to deceased persons which might interfere with the Article 8 rights of others, for example family members, even when the data is not their own 'personal data'.
  • Estates - No information has been referred or is due to be referred to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Ultimus Haeres Unit) as we were unaware of any assets or heritable estates associated with the funerals.

Contact Environmental Health




01294 324339


North Ayrshire Council, Housing & Public Protection, Environmental Health, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE