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Help with arranging a funeral

The council may arrange a funeral on behalf of anyone who dies within Birmingham City Council’s boundaries when there is no next of kin and no one else is willing or able to arrange one.

If the person has died in hospital

We may have an agreement in place for the hospital to make the funeral arrangements on our behalf. You should check with the hospital to see whether this is the case before contacting us.

If the council arranges a funeral


The funeral will be by way of cremation unless the council believes that cremation would be against the wishes of the person who died.

  • the cremated remains will be made available for the family to collect if they wish to do so
  • alternatively, they can be scattered in the garden of remembrance at the crematorium either by the staff or by the family.


If the council arranges a burial, (and unless the deceased person has the funds the cover the cost), it will be in a ‘public grave’. A 'public grave' means the grave used may contain more than one person and not all the same family.

There would also be no headstone because it is a shared grave.

If there is enough money for a funeral

If the person who has died has left enough money, we can arrange for a funeral that is as close as possible to their last known wishes, or the wishes of their family, carers, or friends.

We use our contracted funeral director (C Bastock Limited) to arrange the funeral unless there is a fully paid funeral plan with a different funeral director.

We make an administrative charge for work we've carried out and for the cost of the funeral.

After any administration and funeral charges have been deducted, any remaining money will be dealt with by estate administrators.

If there is no known next of kin or beneficiaries, the Government Legal Department will deal with the estate, in accordance with their guidelines.

If there is not enough money for a funeral

If the person who has died has no estate (no money or property), we'll arrange a simple funeral. This will be within the city boundary using C Bastock Limited as the funeral director.

Note: Under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the funeral expenses, after-tax owed to the government, is the first call on any estate (money or property held after death).

The council is empowered under the Act to collect all sums of money due or belonging to the deceased and sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs.

Any shortfall will be borne by the council or the Health Authority/Trust.

What standard of funeral will be arranged?

The funeral director is contracted to provide a dignified funeral.

The funeral is carried out in such a way that an ordinary observer could not differentiate between this and any other funeral service.

We will also take into consideration the religious and cultural background of the person who died.

We will let family, carers, and friends know the date, time, and place of the funeral, so they can attend.

Download the Public Health Funeral leaflet

Funeral Contractor details:

The contracted funeral director, C. Bastock Limited, is available 24 hours for 365 days of the year.

Page last updated 8 July 2022

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