Freedom of Information Request


I received this FOI regarding empty homes and public health funerals.

I would be interested if other officers have had a similar request and how you might best respond to this, please?

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would like to request information about the following information:

1. Who deals with all queries related to the Empty Homes?

2. For those who work with Empty Homes, what are the name of the staff member(s) and their contact details?

3. Do the Empty Homes department need to trace the owners and/or next of kin of these properties?

4. For those staff member(s) who need to locate the owner and/or next of kin of these properties, what are their names and contact details?

5. What steps do the council take in order to locate owners and/or next of kin of these empty properties?

6. How many of these homes are considered "empty homes" due to the fact a public health funeral is taken place?

7. How many public health funerals have taken place within the past year? (From January 2015)

8. Of these public health funerals that have occurred, please provide:
a) Name of deceased
b) Date of birth and date of death
c) Last residential address
d) Have the next of kin/family members been traced?
e) What date have the details been referred to the QLTR, Bona Vacantia, Treasury Solicitor, Government Legal Department, NUHU, Duchy or Farrer & Co?

9) Which other organisations have details of the deceased been referred to and why?

Council tax - discounts, access to info etc

Yes we have had the same FOI. I only dealt with q1-6 which meant I just gave them my contact details and I have not yet had to use tracing agents. The answer to q6 was 0, so this was a pretty easy response

Sue Li

Compulsory Purchase and Enforcement Officer

Derby City Council

You should ask your Information Officers to consider Questions 8 and 9 carefully.

I always find it helps to speak to the person making the request. Though FOI’s are motive blind, we can offer a better answer if we know what the questions actually mean.

Qs 1-5 are accessible by other means.

Q6. 8 years in the job, and I have had one BoD that was linked to an unoccupied home. The home was Class F and not Long Term Empty. The original enquiry came in from an heir hunter, Kin UK ltd. They did an exceptional job getting people linked up. Couldn’t fault them at all.

Q7. Straightforward answer.

Qs 8 and 9. The info we hold in such cases is provided in confidence. We owe a duty of confidence to the deceased. If John Actor called up asking if we knew anything about the death of Prof. Nirmal Thangurapathy of 22 Acacia Avenue, we would want to know not breach confidence by disclosing personal data unless we knew that John Actor had a bona fide reason to know the info. Peerhsaps John wanted to go to the funeral, perhaps he was a creditor, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Seek advice.

Nick P-G
Reading BC

The only comment I wanted to make was to say that our council also received the FOI request about public health funerals last week.  And thanks to my reading the other posts on the forum on this subject, I knew just how to answer the questions.  Big thank you to Nick P-G, Sue Li etc for their comments. 

Lynne Leach

We to had the FOI request,  I  took the view that  as recently deceased persons their details should still come under the same  reasoning as if they were alive. So the questioner got all the information as to who I was and how to contact me etc.  but no more. However as it turned out none of the funerals were of persons who were home owners.