Publication - Publication

Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Published: 14 Oct 2015
Part of:
Health and social care
ISBN:
9781785447471

The Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) details the policy changes and changes to legislation affecting burial and cremation which may have an impact on business or the third sector. The BRIA details the likely costs and benefits on businesses and the third sector that the changes will bring about.

21 page PDF

164.6 kB

21 page PDF

164.6 kB

Contents
Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
Page 2

21 page PDF

164.6 kB

Table 1: Policy options

Policy Option Costs Benefits
The right to instruct the disposal of human remains Do nothing/minimum. Lack of clarity around who has right to instruct the disposal; can lead to family disputes, delays to disposal and legal costs to resolve dispute. The status quo remains, meaning that no new procedures will be required; however, this approach would lead to the perpetuation of the existing situation where there is no clear legal position on who has the right to instruct the disposal of human remains.
Set out who has the legal right to instruct the disposal of human remains. This is the option set out in the Bill. None, other than the potential for very minor procedural changes. Addresses issue of lack of clarity; provides clear hierarchy for all categories of disposal.
The management of burial grounds Do nothing/minimum. General lack of clarity about what action a burial authority can take to manage burial grounds, particularly when maintaining headstones; uncertainty over what powers a burial authority has in particular circumstances; limited power for burial authorities to take action to address unsafe or abandoned cemeteries, graves and headstones and other memorials; continued safety risks. Costs remain at status quo.
Give Burial Authorities further support on this matter through guidance. Limited legal clarity – little improvement on existing position. Some improved clarity about responsibilities; leaves much discretion to burial authorities and does not place them under duties.
Set out clear powers and duties in regulations. This is the option set out in the Bill. Potential for increased costs through duties to maintain burial grounds, rather than current power to maintain them. Provides strong and unambiguous legal framework; will provide legal basis for activity that most burial authorities carry out already; will ensure that burial grounds are well-maintained and safe.
Reuse of burial lairs Do nothing/minimum. Current situation persists, where burial grounds fall into disuse and disrepair; cost of burial continues to increase; availability of burial space decreases; reduced opportunities for people to choose burial as an option. Much potential burial space remains unusable. Avoids the costs of reusing lairs; avoids potential for someone to lose burial rights.
Allow purchased but unused lairs to be sold again by the burial authority after a set period. Cost of process to reclaim these lairs; less efficient process, since only some potential lairs are identified; full lairs where there is no active interest remain unused. Allows unused lairs to be reused in certain circumstances; avoids need to disturb human remains.
Allow burial authorities to reuse lairs. This is the option set out in the Bill. Reuse process is long and costly; potential opposition from individuals or particular groups; potential for individuals to lose rights to lair even when they have an active interest. Brings particular lairs back into use, expanding burial capacity, supporting sustainability of burial grounds and making burial a more affordable option for more people; improves appearance and safety of older burial grounds where there is no or little current maintenance; cost savings in comparison with extending current burial grounds or creating new burial grounds; generates revenue above costs of reuse process; contributes to a strategic approach to heritage management and burial land capacity. No requirement for burial authorities to use this procedure if they do not want to; no requirement for them to reuse full lairs – they may choose to resell only lairs which are unused.
Exhumation Do nothing/minimum. Continued legal costs to people who wish to apply for an exhumation; lack of clarity about the process that is required. Status quo remains.
Allow inspectors to make decisions about exhumation. This is the option set out in the Bill. Cost to Scottish Government to appoint inspectors; faster and cheaper process may lead to greater number of applications. Bill establishes clear legal process; more affordable process because applicants no longer need to apply to a sheriff; faster, more streamlined process; burial authority remains the gatekeeper of the process, so can continue to advise potential applicants on the feasibility of exhuming a particular burial lair.
Suspension of burial and cremation regulations in event of public health risk Do nothing/minimum. Risk of lengthy delays as system struggles to cope with increased numbers of deaths; increased public health risk. Status quo remains, although there are no particular benefits to this.
Allow all regulations to be suspended. This is the option set out in the Bill. Need to establish Scottish Parliament process to suspend regulations; potential for increased emissions due to higher numbers of cremations while regulations are suspended; higher risk (although still very low overall) of deaths not being processed properly. Supports the system during time of increased deaths; clear parliamentary process for the suspension of regulations, so avoids potential for it to be done without appropriate scrutiny; reduces public health risk; ensures that delays to burial and cremation are kept low.
Revised cremation application form Do nothing/minimum. Missed opportunity to improve process - existing forms are not fit-for-purpose; continued risk of cremations being carried out wrongly because of inadequacies of the current form; continued lack of clarity over what should happen to ashes. Status quo remains – potential minor savings because new procedures are not introduced.
Revise cremation forms so that there is a single form with separate sections for each category of cremation. This is the option that will be set out in legislation. Form is larger – potentially more complex to complete, particularly if wrong section is completed; increased cost of producing a larger form. Clear separation between categories; some questions will apply to particular categories so can be asked at relevant points only rather than being repeated for all categories; all categories of cremation captured by statutory form.
Revise cremation forms to create a single form for each category. Potential for increased costs each time a single form is used; increased costs of producing separate forms for each category; potential for incorrect forms to be completed. Allows increased safeguards by having particular questions (eg, what should be done with ashes) for every category of cremation; all categories of cremation captured by statutory form. Reduced risk of wrong section being completed.
Statutory burial form Do nothing/minimum. Continued lack of consistency across Scotland. Status quo is maintained; every burial authority is able to ask the questions they want to ask.
Prescribe statutory form. This is the option set out in the Bill. Cost of producing new form; potential to add to bureaucracy since each burial authority currently uses its own form but will have to replace those with a standard form. Provides single form so improves consistency; no ambiguity about process; potential for minor administrative savings as every burial authority will use the same form rather than being able to amend its own forms.
Cremation Register Do nothing/minimum Limited number of people are able to view register. Status quo is maintained; cremation authorities are under no requirement to allow people to view the register – no additional costs through having to enable public access.
Allow cremation register to be public document. This is the option set out in the Bill. Costs to cremation authorities of needing to provide access to the register; potentially limited value to widening access – register may provide few research opportunities. Enables more people to view the record, bringing it into line with other similar records (eg, birth register, death register).
Inspectors Do nothing/minimum Missed opportunity – no independent inspection of burial authorities or funeral directors; missed opportunity to improve public confidence in funeral industry. Missed opportunity to provide further information about particular sectors. Status quo remains – avoids additional bureaucracy and costs associated with introducing new inspector roles.
Introduce new powers for inspectors of burial. This is the option set out in the Bill. Increased costs to Scottish Government of appointing inspectors; increased administrative costs to service inspectors; increased bureaucracy for burial authorities; need to agree interface between new inspection and existing inspection regimes. Introduces independent scrutiny of burial authorities; supports compliance with legislation; supports best practice.
Introduce new powers for inspectors of funeral directors. This is the option set out in the Bill. Increased costs to Scottish Government of appointing inspectors; increased administrative costs to service inspectors; increased bureaucracy for funeral directors; need to agree interface between new inspection and existing inspection regimes. Introduces independent scrutiny of funeral directors; allows action to be taken in response to poor performance; may support a reduction in funeral costs; may support an improvement in service received.
Regulation of funeral directors No nothing/minimum. Opportunity cost – lose opportunity to bring greater regulation of funeral directors. Status quo remains – funeral directors do not have to meet additional costs associated with regulation. No additional costs to Scottish Government of introducing and administering the scheme.
Provide power for Ministers to introduce regulation scheme. This is the option set out in the Bill. Cost to Scottish Government to administer scheme; cost to funeral directors of licence fee and any other associated costs. Introduces greater regulation of funeral directors; allows greater action to be taken in response to poor performance; enables funeral directors who do not meet standards to be kept out of the industry. Supports public confidence in funeral industry.
Funeral costs Do nothing/minimum. Funeral costs may continue to rise. The funeral industry is left to set its own prices without any intervention from central government.
Require local authorities to charge at cost-recovery levels. Potential increase in costs – many local authorities currently charge at below cost-recovery basis. Would offer assurances to public that prices are not based on profit; would provide more clarity about funeral costs.
Require local authorities to charge a standard national fee. Local authorities would potentially lose income, since costs are not standard across the country; local authorities have a reduced ability to set fees based on their own costs and internal financial arrangements. Would reduce the perception of a ‘postcode lottery’.
Require local authorities to publish their costs in full. Minor administrative costs of publishing costs. Would increase transparency of costs, supporting public confidence in the funeral industry.
Require funeral directors to publish their costs in full Could lead to price fixing as funeral directors agree to establish equivalent prices; risk that sensitive financial information is required to be shared with competitors; potential for cheapest funeral directors to be considered the best – may emphasise cost over quality of service. Would increase transparency of costs; would help customers to understand all cost elements of funeral; would potentially lower prices overall as funeral directors were more aware of other companies’ prices.

Contact

Email: Katrina McNeill