Skip to main content


Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what (a) advice and (b) resources would be made available to local authorities in addressing the problems of increased mortality as a consequence of an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement; (164973)

(2) if she will make a statement on the development of policy for the handling and management of the deceased as a consequence of increased mortality during any future pandemic influenza outbreak; when she plans to issue revised guidance; and what discussions she has had with devolved authorities on the co-ordination of policy.

On 30 August 2007, the Home Office published Planning for a possible Influenza Pandemic—A framework for planners preparing to manage deaths, for consultation. This draft document provides guidance to local authority planners faced with the task of managing excess fatalities in the event of pandemic influenza. It was produced by the Home Office in consultation with a working group representing all the Departments involved in this task together with the Local Government Association, the Faith Communities Consultative Council and representatives of the funeral industry. Representatives of the devolved Administrations also attend the working group.

After the close of the consultation period on 30 November 2007, we will consider the views of respondents and the need for any revisions to the document. The Departments with responsibility for processes such as medical certification of the cause of death; and burial and cremation certification will issue guidelines to their operational counterparts in light of the consultation. We will ensure that local authorities are informed of any changes and make revisions to the publication during the first quarter of 2008. It is not proposed that additional resources for managing excess deaths will be made available to local authorities during an influenza pandemic.