Whilst no-one can undo the past, a great deal can be learned from what has gone before.
Bereaved families have a right to expect that the instructions of the applicant will be adhered to, and it is the duty of the cremation authority to ensure compliance with that instruction.
Whilst that is the case in almost all cremations, there have been occasions, as referred to earlier, when it has not.
It is worthy of note that unless a complaint is made by, or on behalf of a bereaved family, the Inspector of Crematoria may not be made aware of any incident which has resulted in uncertainty on the identification or loss of ashes following cremation, as there is no requirement for the cremation authority to inform the Inspector of any irregularities other than (per the Policy Statement) when it relates to the non-recovery of ashes following cremation of an infant.
Consideration should be given to making such a notification mandatory.
The following is a list of subjects referred to in this report, all of which it is considered can be progressed as part of the sharing of good practice. Those of particular relevance to infant cremation were also discussed at the National Committee on Infant Cremation Meeting on 28 October 2016.
Sharing of Good Practice - Matters referred to in this report
- Notification of irregularities (pages 8-9)
- Items left in coffin (page 8)
- Form E1 from Procurator Fiscal (page 8)
- Improved communication (pages 7-8)
- Defibrillators (page 8)
- Operational procedures manual (pages 7-8)
- Ceramic joints (page 7)
- Terminology used (page 7)
- Shared cremation services (page 7)
- Contracts (page 7)
- Computer records (pages 5-6)
- Identity labels on ashes (page 6)
This report has been made available to the Scottish Government Burial and Cremation Legislation Team, and Cremation Regulations Working Groups for any considered action.
Robert Swanson QPM
HM Inspector of Crematoria Scotland
31 October 2016
Email: Vicki McKechnie
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House