Public funerals

In circumstances where there are no friends or relatives willing or able to make funeral arrangements, your local Council may be able to help under guidance of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. If an individual passes away and there are no friends or relatives in a position to organise a funeral, the Council can handle the process as a last resort. Under our current agreement, unless there is a clear written wish left by the deceased, a public funeral will consist of a burial at Earlham Cemetery.

You will need to contact your local council before any arrangements are made. Any costs from arrangements made before our involvement will not be our responsibility.

A public funeral carried out by Broadland District or South Norfolk Councils must follow the below guidance:

  • memorials, marker crosses, fencing, shrubs and potted plants are not permitted on common graves and will be removed by the Cemetery department
  • under no condition are balloon releases allowed on Cemetery grounds
  • no music or hymns are played
  • friends or relatives can remain for a short period once the funeral director and bearers leave if they wish to pay their respects

Arrangements for public funerals are made with a local funeral director in line with a contracted agreement and involve a burial in a common grave, as stated above at Earlham Cemetery. Where possible, the Council will recover costs from the deceased’s estate. The charges reclaimed are:

  • Funeral director fee
  • Interment fee 
  • Administration fee

To contact your local council about a public funeral, please email us using the links below.

Email Broadland Council

Email South Norfolk Council

What do I do if the Council is closed?

If a death occurs out of office hours and you cannot keep the deceased in your care, please contact our agreed Funeral Directors directly. You will then have to contact the Council for further instructions when we re-open.  You should then contact the Council on the next working day (Monday - Friday, 8.30am-5pm).

Funeral Director contact number: 01603 625495

Public funeral register

  • We keep details of the funerals undertaken by South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils using a register of information that is accessable to the public. All funeral arrangements are made in line with the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

    View our public funeral registers