The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 (the “2016 Act”) provides for a licensing scheme for funeral directors in Scotland to be developed and implemented (see sections 94 to 96). The 2019 report of the previous Inspector of Funeral Directors recommended that Ministers should introduce a scheme of Progressive Licensing for funeral directors in Scotland (pg. 13). Further, that this licensing scheme should be introduced by legislative means, as set out in the 2016 Act, to provide reassurance to the bereaved in Scotland and to ensure good standards of care for the deceased and support for the bereaved. The former Minister for Public Health accepted the recommendation to introduce a licensing scheme.
In her development of the 2019 report and consideration of a licensing scheme, the former Inspector engaged with the funeral sector. As set out on pages six and seven of her report, this took the form of formal deliberative processes, conference attendance and presentations, Short Life Working Group participation and collaboration, and a variety of formal and informal discussions. The former Inspector concluded that, from these discussions, it was clear many stakeholders in the sector accept and support an additional mechanism for compliance and application of standards. The former Inspector acknowledged and thanked all those who had participated in these sessions, and recommended that, in taking forward the work to implement a licensing scheme, the Government and Inspector(s) should continue to engage with the sector.
Extensive, related work has also occurred, which will feed into discussions about developing the licensing scheme. An important example is the input stakeholders have had as part of the Inspection Regulations Working Group, which met multiple times over 2018 to 2019 to inform the development of the draft inspection regulations. This working group has held important and relevant discussions related to many aspects of inspection, which will impact on the development of this licensing scheme (for example reviews, appeals processes, and enforcement).
Additionally, the draft Funeral Director: Code of Practice was developed in consultation with a Short Life Working Group (SLWG), and a public consultation was held which informed the revisions of the draft Code. The SLWG is being reconvened to discuss the revised draft code, and will work in parallel to the Licensing Working Group – with acknowledgement that this work is importantly interlinked.
To inform the development of a licensing scheme for funeral directors in Scotland, and the drafting of the content of licensing regulations as provided for by sections 94 to 96 of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016, which enables Scottish Ministers to make a scheme for the licensing of funeral directors’ businesses.
In doing so the group will consider a series of specific topics relating to the licensing scheme. The group will also remain mindful of the interlinkages between the licensing scheme and other aspects of funeral sector regulation being developed in Scotland (e.g. inspection regulations), and of the limits to the powers given to Scottish Ministers in the 2016 Act to develop the licensing scheme.
The group is chaired by the Scottish Government.
- James Blackburn, Scotmid Funerals
- Ephraim Borowski, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
- Gerry Boyle, Dignity
- Rachel Bradburne, National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
- Nick Britten, NAFD
- Jim Brodie, Brodie’s Funerals
- Andrew Brown, Co-op Funeralcare
- Ross Corse, John Corse Funerals
- Bobby Hopkin-Hoggarth, British Institute of Embalmers (BIE)
- John MacLean, The Highland Council
- David MacColl, Scottish Bereavement Benchmarking Group (SBBG)
- Rizy Mohammed, National Burial Council
- Joe Murren, Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
- Terry Tennens, SAIF
- Margaret Paterson, Pushing Up the Daisies
- Mark Porteous, Porteous Funerals
- Tim Purves, William Purves Funeral Directors
- Callum Ross, Ross Funeral Directors
- Robert Swanson, Senior Inspector of Burial, Cremation and Funeral Directors
- Gordon Findlater, Inspector of Burial, Cremation and Funeral Directors
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