Two councils have apologised after a serious IT failure left funeral directors unable to book crematorium slots.

Adur and Worthing councils discovered major computer hardware problems a week ago and have since been using Facebook to communicate with residents and pen and paper internally.

Sports fans have been unable to book facilities at Worthing Leisure Centre and one funeral director had to hold a funeral service in their own chapel rather than the council-run crematorium.

The councils say repairing the system is taking longer because of delays to the supply of replacement equipment due to problems which were “outside of their control”.

New applications for benefits and changes to existing ones cannot be processed, while any e-mails sent to cannot be accessed.

Max Webber, funeral director at HD Tribe, said: “We have had to work round it. There are grieving families to look after so they are our top priority.

“We have our own chapel here so we were using that for funeral services too.

'No back-up'

“I think people have just been in disbelief that there is no back-up or manual system for bookings at the crematorium.

“This new online system has only been around for about six months but we previously used a manual one.”

Wendy Knight, spokeswoman for Adur and Worthing councils, said: “We’ve been dealing with a serious hardware incident for the past seven days which has meant we haven’t been able to take bookings for various facilities and we haven’t been able to communicate with people via email.

“I’m pleased to say that now though we are gradually getting to our feet again and it’s all returning to normal, but we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“If anyone has any concerns or questions please visit us on our Facebook page.”

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