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Births, Deaths and Marriages

View all FOIs for this department below or select a sub-department to narrow down results.

Deaths with No Known Next of Kin | Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriages | Funerals | Health Visitors and Antenatal Services | Public Health Funerals | Weddings | Deaths

Details:

Reference Number: 5390
Request Date: 11/01/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Please could you kindly send me any information you may hold relating to 'public health act' or 'welfare' or 'contract' or 'paupers' funerals having taken place or due to take place, and/or persons who have died with no  known next of kin since 1/11/18 to the day of your reply. Please include:

Q.1 full names of deceased persons,
A.1 We do not provide the above information pursuant to S31(1)(a) Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Q.2 dates of death,
A.2 Please see the table below for the above information.

Q.3 marital status,
A.3 We do not keep a record of this information

Q.4 maiden surnames of married or widowed females,
A.4 We do not keep a record of this information.

Q.5 dates of birth or ages at death,
A.5 Please see the table below for the above information.

Q.6 last known addresses,
A.6 We do not provide the above information pursuant to S31(1)(a) Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Q.7 estimated value of estates,
A.7 As we are not dealing with the administration of the estate, we can not provide an estimate of the value of the estate. 
    
Q.8 date(s) when the information was passed (or information that  is about to be or likely to be passed) to the Government Legal Department (formerly Treasury Solicitor) or the Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall or any other 3rd party, or, confirmation that this will not be happening and the reason why.

A.8 None of the above cases in the table met the criteria for referral to the Government Legal Department and therefore will not be referred.
 
Gender Date of birth  Date of death Whether the matter is to be referred to the Government Legal Department
Male 08/04/1948 02/11/2018 Not to be referred
Female  20/02/1953 28/11/2018 Not to be referred
Male 12/09/1950 05/12/2018 Not to be referred
Male 09/07/1961 27/12/2018 Not to be referred
 
 
If your authority holds this information on your website, please  confirm whether or not your website information is up to date and send the link. If it is not please provide full details of any unpublished cases, as per the questions above.
 


Details:

Reference Number: 5437
Request Date: 18/01/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Please could you tell me, for each of the financial years 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and as much of 2018/19 as you have data for:
 
Q.1 How many people HOUSED BY THE COUNCIL died in
Q.1a General needs housing managed by the council
Q.1b General needs housing managed by any other organisation, including housing associations and RMOs.
Q.1c Sheltered Housing
Q.1d Temporary Accommodation
Q.1e Emergency Accommodation
Q.1f Any other type of housing
To be clear: I’d like you to count all the people housed by the council, including those housed in other councils’ areas.
 
Q.2 For each of those deaths, broken down by year and type of accommodation as per Q1:
Q.2a How many were reported to the coroner?
Q.2b How many required an inquest?
Q.2c For those that went to inquest, what was the recorded cause of death? (e.g. drugs, suicide, natural causes etc.)
Q.2d What was the age of the person who died?
 
Q.3 At the end of each financial year (i.e. on 31st March) please could you tell me the total number of PEOPLE (not households) housed in each of the types of accommodation in Q1?
To be clear – I’d like the total number of people housed AT THAT POINT, not the total housed across the previous financial year.
If you’re not able to tell me the total number of deaths – then please could you tell me just those deaths which were reported to the coroner?
 
A1-3 I am writing to inform you that we have searched our records and the information you requested is not held by Northumberland County Council


Details:

Reference Number: 5498
Request Date: 29/01/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Q.1 Has the Council conducted any ‘Public Health Act Funerals since 27/12/18 to the present (the day you respond to this request)?
 
If the answer to this question is yes, please disclose:
The full names of the deceased
The date of birth of the deceased
The date of death of the deceased
The last known address of the deceased
Whether the details of the deceased, have been/will be or are likely to be referred to the Government Legal Department (if you are not sure then can you just answer that field ‘unsure, or unknown’ or words to that effect).

A.1 Please see the attached document.

The full names of the deceased
The last known address of the deceased
We do not provide information on the above questions pursuant to S31(1)(a) Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Q.2 Have there been any similar FOI requests within the time scale outlined in question 1?
 
A.2 We have had 2 similar FOI requests within the time scale outlined in question 1.

Q.3 Has the Council given this information away to any other individual or organisation outside the parameters of FOI (other than the Government Legal Department or internally) within the time scale outlined in question 1?

A.3 We have not given this information away to any other individual or organisation outside the parameters of FOI (other than the Government Legal Department or internally) within the time scale outlined in question 1.

Duty to confirm or deny 

We hold the information you requested. However we are withholding that information since we consider that the exemption under Section 31(1)(a) applies. 

We consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

Exemptions 

The Freedom of Information Act sets out various exemptions to the right of access. 

In the present case the County Council takes the view that the information relating to your request is exempt under the following provisions; 

31 Law enforcement. 

(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice— 

(a) the prevention or detection of crime, 
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, 
(c) the administration of justice, 
(d) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar nature, 
(e) the operation of the immigration controls, 
(f) the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or in other institutions where persons are lawfully detained, 
(g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), 

(h) any civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of a public authority and arise out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified 
in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment, or 
(i) any inquiry held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiries (Scotland) Act 1976 to the extent that the inquiry arises out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment. 

(2) The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are— 

(a) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law, 
(b) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper, 
(c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise, 
(d) the purpose of ascertaining a person’s fitness or competence in relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on, 
(e) the purpose of ascertaining the cause of an accident, 
(f) the purpose of protecting charities against misconduct or mismanagement (whether by trustees or other persons) in their administration, 
(g) the purpose of protecting the property of charities from loss or misapplication, 
(h) the purpose of recovering the property of charities, 
(i) the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, and 
(j) the purpose of protecting persons other than persons at work against risk to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the actions of persons at work. 

(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
 


Details:

Reference Number: 5672
Request Date: 27/02/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Q.1     On 1st February 2019 who provided/employed the health visitors commissioned by your local authority?
A.1 Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

 

Q.2     On 1st February 2019 how many whole time equivalent health visitors were employed by that organisation?

A.2 74 WTE

 

Q.3     On 1st February 2019, how many children under-5 years of age are there in your local authority area?

A.3 There are 17050 children born and registered at GP surgeries aged 0-5 living in Northumberland from the information provided in September 2018.

 

Q.4     Are there any plans to review/change who provides health visitors in your local authority area? If there are, what timeline is being used to make these decisions?

A.4 No

 

Q.5     Who is the responsible manager for the health visiting service. Please also provide their email address. 

A.5 Karen Herne, Senior Public Health Manager

publichealth@northumberland.gov.uk

 

NB:   For your answers, please either use the NHS Digital definition of health visitor or alternatively provide the definition that you are using in your answer. If you are unable to provide data for 1st February 2019, please provide it for the nearest available date and advise what this date is. Definition used by NHS Digital re. Health visitors (notes 28 and 29 from the nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff matrix of Occupation Code Manual) 28. Please ensure to code the following as Health Visitors:  qualified nurses/midwives who also hold a qualification as a Registered Health Visitor under the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing part of the NMC Register working directly with children and families;  qualified and registered Health Visitors who perform specific activities such as providing breastfeeding advice to parents;  family nurses working within the Family Nurse Partnership Programme who are qualified and registered as Health Visitors;  Sure Start Children’s Centre qualified and registered named Health Visitors;  managers within a Health visiting team who hold a health visiting qualification and registration and are involved in clinical work or safeguarding.  29. Please ensure that the following employees are not coded as Health Visitors: any person working in a health visiting team who does not hold a qualification and registration as a Health Visitor; any person who holds a qualification and registration as a Health Visitor but is not employed in a role where this is a requirement; managers within a health visiting team who hold health visiting qualification and registration but are not involved in clinical work or safeguarding. Please see below the general definition for ‘health visitor’ from the Occupation Code Manual: Health Visitor:   An employee who holds a qualification as a Registered Health Visitor under the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing part of the NMC Register and who occupies a post where such a qualification is a requirement.  Not below Agenda for Change Band 6.



Details:

Reference Number: 5823
Request Date: 25/03/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

In October 2018, we sent the council a draft report ‘Local Authorities and Heir Hunters: exposing the opaque and uncompetitive practices that lead to consumer exploitation and inheritance errors’. This document was distributed nationally, and is the result of a number of years of careful research into the worrying situation whereby local authorities are encouraged to bypass the referral of bona vacantia estates to the Government Legal Department and instead refer cases on an exclusive basis to an heir hunter. Under the pretext of offering free help to authorities, an heir hunter’s aim is to obtain early and exclusive leads on intestacies which allow them to compromise on the quality of their research and charge relatives high fees, with no market competition or transparency.

In our report, we recommend that local authorities can avoid the legal, ethical and reputational risks of this single supplier model by following Government Guidance and referring cases to the Government’s Bona Vacantia Division (or Duchies of Cornwall or Lancaster, where appropriate). If this is not possible, a panel of three accredited researchers can be established who are referred each intestacy concurrently, and/or the council can simply publish and maintain an online public list of intestacies and avoid engaging privately with heir hunters.

We understand that this local authority does not publish an online list of public health funerals, and uses an heir hunter to trace relatives. This practice of providing exclusive leads to heir hunting companies undoubtedly risks inheritance errors and overcharging of next of kin. Because there is no published list, there is a lack of transparency which makes it impossible to check these cases for accuracy, meaning that estates could be distributed erroneously and missed beneficiaries may never come to light. It seems clear that there should be a safe and fair procedure in place to protect beneficiaries. The intention of this request is to discover whether the local authority is taking any steps to improve their practices in this area.

Note: in this request, please take all references to a ‘researcher’ to include any individual, company or partnership which provides genealogist or probate research, people tracing or ‘heir hunting’ services. 

Please respond to the following questions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’), which relate to the situation and local authority practices outlined above:

Q.1   Please indicate the last date on which a genealogist, probate researcher or tracing agent was used. 

A.1   We do not use researchers tracing agents or genealogist in relation to public health funerals, all relevant cases are referred to the Government Legal Department.

Q.2    If a researcher has been used in the past year, on how many occasions has this occurred?

A.2  N/A

Q.3    Which company was last used and by which local authority department?

A.3   N/A

Q.4    Does the local authority have any contract with any researcher? If so, please provide the contract document, redacted as required.

A.4   Please see response to Q1 - researchers are not used in relation to public health funeral.

Q.5    In the circumstances where the local authority was aware of the existence of relatives of a deceased person but lacked the resources or expertise to locate them, would the council use a genealogical researcher on an exclusive basis again?

A.5   We do not use genealogical researchers.

Q.6    Are there plans for the council to undergo a tendering process for a researcher?

A.6    No

Q.7    If the council previously used heir hunters or other tracing services but no longer does so, what are the reasons behind the change in policy?

A.7    We have never used heir hunters or tracing agents for public health funerals.

Q.8    What is the council’s policy and process for making a referral to a genealogical researcher?

A.8    We do not use genealogical researchers for public health funerals.

Q.9    Please identify the measures in the existing policies and procedures for making referrals to a genealogical researcher which:
a) protect next of kin from overcharging through a market exposure and 

A.9a)   protect next of kin from overcharging through a market exposure and 

Q.9b)   ensure all entitled relatives are found? 

A.9b)   ensure all entitled relatives are found? 
We do not use genealogical researchers for public health funerals.

Q.10   Does the local authority now publish an online list of public health funerals where there is an intestacy?

A.10   No, any relevant cases are referred to Government Legal Department.

Q.11   If so, when is information added to the list? Is information only added to the list AFTER the researcher has exhausted their investigations or is it added at the same time that a referral is made to the researcher?

A.11   N/A

Q.12   Does the list include names of deceased individuals where a researcher has been used and family have been located who have taken over responsibility for the funeral? 

A.12   N/A

Q.13   Bearing in mind the benefits to the next of kin of maintaining competition, if the local authority is not already doing so does it intend to begin using or tender for a panel of three researchers to whom each case will be referred concurrently?

A.13   No

Q.14   If the local authority is still engaging in exclusive relationships with heir hunters rather than making referrals to the Bona Vacantia Division or to a panel of three and/or maintaining a regularly updated online list, what is the justification for this? Please refer to any relevant policies and legislation.

A.14   N/A

Q.15   Please provide any records of internal decision making or external consultation from the past year which have resulted in the local authority’s current stance on the use of genealogical researchers 

A.15   N/A

Q.16   Would the local authority welcome some formal guidance or regulation from the government or another independent body in order to provide clarity on the appropriate course of action for using private sector services which are free to the local authority but which may result in a third party being charged or prejudiced in some way?

A.16   We do not use genealogical researchers for public health funerals.

Q.17.   Would the local authority welcome some formal guidance from the government or another independent body to provide clarity on the appropriate course of action for when a person dies intestate in their area and there is evidence that there are next of kin but the local authority do not have the resources or skills to locate the relatives themselves?

A.17   We do not use genealogical researchers for public health funerals.
 


Details:

Reference Number: 5832
Request Date: 26/03/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Q.1      How many children did the child and social services department have contact with in 2018 where the child was in the care of social services and at risk of:

Q.1a)    child &/or forced marriage?

A.1a)     0

Q.1b)    “honour” based violence?

A.1b)    0

Q.1c)     female genital mutilation?

A.1c)     0

A.2        0

Q.2      If you hold the data requested at question 1 for child &/or forced marriage, “honour” based violence and/ or female genital mutilation as one combined figure, please provide this figure.

Q.3      How many children did the child and social services department have contact with in 2018 where the child was at risk of

A.3a)    child &/or forced marriage?

A.3a)     0

Q.3b)    “honour” based violence?

A.3b)     0

Q.3c)    female genital mutilation?

A.3c)    5- all at risk if they return to another country 

A.4      If you hold the data requested at question 3 for child &/or forced marriage, “honour” based violence and/ or female genital mutilation as one combined figure, please provide this figure.

A.4     5
 


Details:

Reference Number: 5914
Request Date: 09/04/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

I would like to know details of anyone who has died with no known next of kin from 1/1/2018 to the day of your reply. If there are any new cases where the person died prior to 1/1/2018, but that were only dealt with after this date, please also include details. This should include deaths of any clients whose affairs are managed by the Councils Safeguarding or Deputy-ship Teams, where applicable. Please also supply a list of any Public Health Act Funerals carried out from the above date (also known as Welfare or Environmental Health Act funerals) if this does not form part of your reply to the above. This should include funerals carried out by the council or on behalf of any third party. If this information is now provided on your website, please send the hyperlink. Please include as much of the following information as you are able to:
 
Q.1   the deceased's full names

A.1   We do not provide the above information pursuant to S31(1)(a)  Freedom of information Act 2000.

Q.2   the date they died 

A.2   Please see the attached document
 
Q.3   the approximate value of their estate 4. their date and place of birth or age at death 

A.3   We do not have records regarding values of the estates.

Q.5   whether or not they were married, divorced, single, or widowed 

A.5   We do not retain a record as information was not available at the time of referral
 
Q.6   the maiden surnames of married females or widows 

A.6   We do not retain a record as information was not available  at the time of referral

Q.7   their address at death 

A.7   We do not provide the above information pursuant to S31(1)(a) Freedom of information Act 2000.
 
Q.8   the date when a referral was made of this estate to any other 3rd party or body to research or administer and the name of the 3rd party concerned. 

A.8   We do not make referrals to third parties, relevant cases  are referred to the Government Legal Department.
 
Q.9   If a referral to a 3rd party or body has not yet been made could you advise of the case details as above too. 

A.9   N/A
 
Q.10  If a case referral to a 3rd party or body is still undecided or awaiting referral, please also advise of details of the deceased.

A.10   N/A
 
The  information requested is regularly published. We send it as soon as we receive a death certificate from someone with no known next of kin to the Bona Vacantia Division of the Government Legal Department who publish it within five working days
 
Public  Interest Test Considerations Section 31(1) is a qualified exemption which means that the information falling within the exemption still has to be released unless the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining  the exemption. Although the public interest will be high in disclosing this information, the exemptions provided by sections 31(1)(a) and (b) very obviously serve to protect society from crime.
 
On balance, and in all the circumstances of this particular case, we have concluded that the public interest is  best served by maintaining the exemption at section 31(1) at this time. 

Notice of Refusal 

Please treat this letter as a Notice of Refusal as regards the information covered by the Section 31 Exemption.
 


Details:

Reference Number: 6106
Request Date: 21/05/2019 Archived

Question and Response:

Q.1   The mid year population estimate, yearly from 2009 to 2019.

Clarification:
Re the MYE for populations - The mid year estimate is released by the Office of National Statistics for UK and different geographies. It is based on an adjusted census count, taking account of factors such as births, deaths, migration in and out. What I really want is the approximate total population of the council so that I can adjust the rates for population growth. On the council website there are only links back to 2013, but I suspect that internally there will be a statistics hub with the population size by year going back until the council was formed.
https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Northumberland-Knowledge-and-JSNA/Our-People/People.aspx

A.1   The Mid-Year population estimates measure the population on the 30th June each year. The latest data is for 2017 with 2018 figures due to be available in June 2019. All data is freely available on the NOMIS website www.nomisweb.co.uk/ back to 1981. Attached is the data requested for 2009 - 2017.