Introductory Visits and Media Interest
On commencing in the role, contact was made by what was then 27 crematoria (since increased to 29), with introductory visits to each planned. These were carried out between 31 March 2015 and 22 September 2015, by which time one further crematorium had become operational.
These visits provided an opportunity to meet staff and be shown around the crematorium including witnessing a number of cremations. It was made clear to all staff that the visit was not to be regarded as an inspection, which would come later.
These visits proved to be very beneficial for a number of reasons including giving the Inspector an insight into the various procedures and processes in place, for what is basically the same ultimate aim at each crematoria, that being to successfully carry out the cremation in accordance with the instructions of the applicant and in a way that is fully compliant with legislative and procedural guidance.
Whilst it was seen that there were many similarities in how this was achieved, as will be seen later in this report there were variations to the process.
Under the heading Complaint Investigations it will be seen that there were a number of cases where human error has resulted in catastrophic failings which inflicted further grief on families.
The appointment of the Inspector in March 2015 prompted a great deal of media interest, initially from Scotland, but later from England as well, following publication of the Shrewsbury Baby Ashes Report.
These were co-ordinated by Scottish Government Media with interviews for newspaper, television and radio given by both the Minister for Public Health and Sport and the Inspector.
The media coverage was very positive as regards the action taken by the Scottish Government in response to the recommendations of Lord Bonomy and was seen as going some way towards restoring public confidence in the funeral industry, particularly as regards cremations carried out in Scotland. It was widely reported that Scotland was leading the way.
Email: Vicki McKechnie
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House