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Public Health Funerals

On rare occasions people die within South Ayrshire Council area with no traceable relatives or executor to organise funeral arrangements for the deceased person.

Where it appears that no arrangements for the funeral of a deceased person have been made or are being made, using powers under Section 87 of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 the Council's Environmental Health team may step in to make suitable arrangements for the funeral.

This service is only provided in circumstances where no one else is arranging a funeral and the person has died within South Ayrshire.


There some exceptions as described below:

  • If the person is a child who, immediately before the death, was being looked after by another local authority, that other local authority must make arrangements for the remains to be buried or cremated.
  • If the person is not a child and, immediately before the death, the person was in the care of, or receiving assistance from, another local authority, that other local authority must make arrangements for the remains to be buried or cremated.
  • If the person died out with the Council's boundary you should contact the local authority where the person died.


The arrangements will only be for the provision of a simple but dignified basic funeral. No funeral notice, service, flowers or funeral cars will be provided.

The Council will so far as known to the authority have regard to

  • any wishes that the person expressed as to means of disposal of the person's remains, and
  • whether the person was of a particular religion or belief.

The Environmental Health team will not provide any financial assistance to arrange a funeral, but will make the arrangements and use an undertaker appointed by the service.

All funeral costs will be recovered from the deceased person's estate and are usually paid before any other debts.

The following table contains details of the public health funerals carried out over the last few years.

Details of public health funerals

Making your own funeral arrangements for a deceased person

Funeral Support Payment

If you wish to arrange a funeral for a deceased person and require financial assistance, please refer to the Scottish Government's Funeral Support Payment pages via the link below.

You could apply for a Funeral Support Payment which helps pay for funeral costs if you live in Scotland and receive certain benefits. You must be the nearest relation to the person who died.

You can use the payment towards funeral costs for a baby, child or adult. This includes babies who were stillborn.

It usually will not cover the full cost of the funeral but it should help pay for some costs, for example:

  • burial or cremation costs
  • funeral costs
  • your travel costs
  • transport costs to move the person who died
  • document costs
  • medical costs

How much you receive will depend on your circumstances.

Other agencies/charities/bereavement support

External Links

For Further Information Contact

Trading Standards and Environmental Health Service, Chief Executive's Office, South Ayrshire Council, 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr KA8 0BJ Telephone: 0300 123 0900