Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Member for Resources - Thursday, 5th October, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall, Portsmouth. View directions

Contact: Lisa Gallacher, Local Democracy Officer - Tel: 023 9283 4056  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Benedict Swann.


Declaration of Members' Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Provision of Community Funerals pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Purpose of the report


1.1      To provide clarity in respect to Portsmouth City Council's (the Council) community funeral procedural framework and provide information regarding the demands for this function and the consequential impacts of such. 


1.2      To update the previous report presented to the relevant Portfolio Holder in January 2019. 



RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member for Resources:


      i.         Recognises that the primary function of this service is to provide community funerals in a professional manner, with punctuality and the utmost levels of decency, decorum, and respect.


    ii.         Acknowledges the stresses being placed upon the wider regulatory functions as a result of continuing high demand for community funerals - as set out within Section 7 and 8 of this report.


   iii.         Approves the manner in which community funerals are delivered - as outlined in Section 11 of this report.


   iv.         Notes the financial pressures incurred from delivering this function - as set out in Section 14 of this report.   


Additional documents:


The report was introduced by Steve Bell, Regulatory Services Lead. 


Mr Bell then gave a summary of two of the points previously raised: 


With regard to publishing community funerals on MIS, Mr Bell said that it is a very delicate subject and if the information gets out into the community sometimes relatives may be embarrassed by their inability to fund the funeral. Officers are also mindful of the time between being notified and the funeral.  Whilst MIS is published weekly, a potential additional delay of 9 working days (referral received on a Monday and not received by Members in a timely fashion prior to the next MIS release), in addition to further delays in potentially seeking assistance from community groups etc. is a worry as this may postpone funeral arrangements unreasonably. If assistance is not ultimately forthcoming, then this would further extend the time in which the deceased is in our care.


The funeral costs are generally in the region of £1,800 and the duties of the funeral director are as follows:


·       to provide services and arrangements for the burial (this will include liaison with third parties as necessary - such as partner authorities and friends / family of the deceased)

·       the collection of the deceased from the Queen Alexandra Hospital mortuary (or other locality as necessary) to the FD's mortuary. In such cases, a closed vehicle, not an open vehicle is to be used for these removals.

·       the collection of the deceased out of normal working hours as is necessary.

·       care of the deceased from point of collection to the funeral.

·       the provision of a coffin suitable for the purpose of burial - to include a name plate and other necessary furniture.

·       a glass sided hearse to take the deceased to the cemetery. The FD is advised that on occasions burials may take place outside the boundary of Portsmouth.

·       all necessary funeral staff and professional liveried pall bearers.

·       appropriate religious services at the graveside for all burials.

·       the cemetery fee.

·       the provision of administrative and financial staff.

·       all coffins shall be accompanied by a floral tribute and where appropriate other requirements are organised as defined by us - for example, where the deceased has a military background shall be covered by the appropriate ensign / where family ashes are requested to be placed within the coffin / where toys or photos are likewise requested to be placed within the coffin. 


In terms of costs, commonly these are:


·       professional services provided by the funeral director = £200

·       coffin = £200

·       hearse fee = £200

·       transportation costs - including bringing the deceased into the care of the FD = £275

·       cemetery costs = £729

·       minister fee = £70

·       pall bearer fee = £240


In response to a question from the Cabinet Member regarding other local authorities covering the cost of the funerals if the deceased have died in Queen Alexandra Hospital but lived in a surrounding local area, Mr Bell said that discussions had taken place.  It is a legal requirement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.