The Burial & Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 (the 2016 Act) received Royal Assent in April 2016 and provides powers for Scottish Ministers to make provision for the regulation of burial authorities and burial grounds.
In July 2016, a Burial Regulations Working Group was formed to commence work on the regulation of burial authorities in Scotland. At that meeting it was decided that priority would be given to implementing the cremation and arrangements section of the 2016 Act. In Dec 2019, a second iteration of the Working Group was formed and resumed discussion on the appropriate regulation of burial authorities and burial grounds. This work was delayed in March 2020 as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and will resume now in December 2021.
Central to the principles and aims of the Working Group when founded was the commitment to the care and dignity of both the deceased and the bereaved. These principles remain at the heart of this Working Group, the funeral sector, third sector organisations and the Scottish Government and will continue to inform the development of these regulations.
Under Section 104(1) of the 2016 Act, the Scottish Government must consult burial authorities and any other persons Ministers consider appropriate on the development of burial regulations as covered under the 2016 Act.
The Working Group has been formed to inform the regulations, but itself is not statutory and so is not accountable to Scottish Ministers or Parliament. All members are voluntarily present and invited from across the funeral industry including, public and private burial authorities, trade associations, cultural and heritage organisations, and third sector and charitable organisations to ensure views from across the sector are represented. The Scottish Government makes resource available to the Working Group, including a secretariat, to ensure the Working Group is able to undertake its role.
A public consultation on the policy intent behind the regulations will be held before the regulations are laid before the Scottish Parliament.
The Working Group is a Scottish Government group, made up of industry members and subject matter experts formed to provide advice on the development of regulations for burial authorities and burial grounds in Scotland.
The regulations would be made using the affirmative procedure, meaning that the Scottish Parliament would call for evidence on and scrutinise the regulations before they came into force.
Part one of the 2016 Act, specifies the matters that may be included in the regulations, however, they do not need to be in the regulations if they are not considered necessary.
It is intended that burial authorities would still be able to make their own management rules when any such regulations come into force, and may be used for detailed matters that were not in the regulations or matters where there was a need for local deviation.
It is within the remit of this Working Group to be involved in the development of Scottish Government guidance or a Code of Practice to support the operation of the regulations. These could provide additional details or practical examples for matters contained in the regulations, and could also suggest best practice for matters that are not in the regulations.
- Alasdair McKenzie, Historic Environment Scotland
- Brendan Day, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities
- Brian Corrigan, Cruse Scotland
- Danny Maxwell, South Lanarkshire Council
- Darren Richardson, Orkney Islands Council
- David MacColl, Glasgow City Council
- David Macleod, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
- Elaine Schendel, East Ayrshire Council
- Fiona Porter, North Ayrshire Council
- Gordon Findlater, Inspector of Burial, Cremation and Funeral Directors
- Iain Campbell, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
- Ian Kearns, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities
- James Blackburn, National Association of Funeral Directors
- James Morris, The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
- Jane Matheson, City of Edinburgh Council
- John Downes, Scottish Bereavement Benchmarking Group
- John Lawson, Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers UK
- John MacLean, Highland Council
- John Proffitt, Edinburgh Crematorium Limited
- Joseph Murren, The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
Julie Dunk, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management
- Katie Huxtable, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Liz Murphy, Fife Council
- Lorna Richardson, Orkney Islands Council
- Matthew Crawley, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management
- Nick Britten, The National Association of Funeral Directors
- Nicola Welsh, Held in our Hearts
- Robert Swanson, Senior Inspector of Burial, Cremation and Funeral Directors
- Russell Brooks, National Association of Memorial Masons
- Sam Harris, Orkney Islands Council
- Shirley Bruce, Aberdeenshire Council
- Susan Buckham, National Committee on the Carved Stones in Scotland
- Tim Purves, William Purves Funeral Directors
- Yvonne Scot, Shetland Islands Council
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