FIFE COUNCIL is seeking contractors to carry out so-called ‘pauper’s funerals’ across the region over the next three years.

The local authority has been inviting tenders for the contract to provide funeral and undertaking services over a 36-month period – with the option to extend by a further year should the preferred bidder meet the standards expected.

According to the relevant contract notice, Fife Council is on the lookout for someone “suitably qualified” to ensure everyone in Fife who has no means to pay and have no-one who adopts responsibility for them to have a “respectful” burial or cremation.

Local authorities have a duty under the Burials and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 to arrange a burial or cremation of remains when a person dies and no-one else is able to organise the funeral.

The practice is more common than some might think, with at least 38 assisted funerals carried out across Fife in 2021 so far due to varying circumstances. 

If contacted to arrange a funeral, for whatever reason, Fife Council is required to search the person’s last abode for valuables, family contacts, banking documents and wills; arrange the funeral, which will only include a casket, basic funeral service and flowers; and reclaim its costs from any estate the deceased person has.  

The funeral will also be a cremation unless it is believed that the deceased would have wanted a burial, in which case the burial will be in an unmarked communal grave.