Client affairs service and council contract funerals
Client affairs service (formerly known as receivership)
When a resident of the borough lacks capacity, the council has a discretionary duty to deal with their financial affairs and the adult social care department can apply to become a corporate appointee to manage the person's DWP benefits. This could include the payment of utility bills and the release of funds for personal needs.
LBHF can become appointees, after referral from a social worker if there is no one else available.
The client affairs team submits an application to the DWP to manage a service user's benefits. Prospective cases need to be referred to the client affairs team by the service users' allocated social worker. The team can then release the personal allowance and pay the service user's utility bills, in accordance with a financial schedule agreed with the social worker.
Court of Protection appointed deputies
If a resident lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the client affairs team submits applications to the Court of Protection (on behalf of the Executive Director of Adult Social Care Services) to be appointed as a deputy to manage the property and affairs of people who lack the capacity. More on Court of Protection appointed deputies
Council contract funeral service
The client affairs team will arrange council contract funerals in respect of people who die in Hammersmith & Fulham where there is no one else willing or able to deal with the arrangements. (If a person dies in a hospital in the borough there are different arrangements).
Protection of property
If a resident of Hammersmith & Fulham is admitted to hospital or residential care the client affairs team can be called upon to protect their property. This can involve removing any assets from the premises and safeguarding them whilst the resident is away from home and can also involve the boarding of pets.
Funerals and financial assistance
Council contract funerals
We have a statutory duty to carry out the funeral arrangements of a person who dies in Hammersmith & Fulham, when there is no one else willing or able to do this.
The majority of sudden death referrals are received from the coroner's officers but the occasional referral may come from a doctor who has certified the death.
Many of the referrals may be where there are no known blood relatives and before the funeral is arranged two council officers from the Client Affairs Section will search (where possible) the deceased’s premises for information to contact the next of kin.
In some cases there may be known relatives but they may not be in a position to arrange a private funeral, in which case we ask for their written permission to organise the funeral.
A council funeral contract allows for the opening of a grave plot if a grave plot certificate is discovered.
We will always try to ensure that the funeral takes place in accordance with the deceased's wishes in relation to their religious or ethnic beliefs. For example, if the deceased was a practicing Roman Catholic and there was evidence showing that they would prefer burial, then we would ask a Roman Catholic priest to conduct the service.
If the funeral is to be a burial, the death has to be registered first. This is done by visiting the Registrars Office.
If the funeral is to be a cremation then the service would be held within the chapel at the crematorium and ashes scattered in the garden of remembrance, if no other wishes of disposal by the deceased of their ashes was established. Assuming the death is not subject to an inquest, the death can be registered after the funeral has taken place
What happens after the council has overseen the funeral?
Once the funeral has taken place, the client affairs service carries out all of the following:
- tries to reimburse the council’s funeral costs either by writing to any banks/building societies or even selling the deceased’s personal effects that are not items of a sentimental nature
- advises the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) of the death
- advises any private company pensions of the death
- takes take final gas/electric meter readings, phoning them through to the respective companies, advising them of their customer’s death before
- arranges termination of the tenancy
- refers the estate of the deceased who has over £500 remaining after the funeral costs have been reimbursed to the Treasury Solicitor’s Office. (who would make further enquiries for family members).
For more information on client affairs services and financial assistance for council funerals contact:
Client Affairs Service
1st Floor, 145 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9XY
020 8753 2650