Complaints / Enquiries
The following is a summarised resume of some of the varied complaints or enquiries reported to the Inspector during the period of this report, details of which have been anonymised.
1. There were two instances where a breakdown in communication concerning a change of instruction by the applicant resulted in ashes being scattered rather than collected. In both cases the crematorium had not been advised of the change of instruction prior to cremation.
2. This enquiry concerned the recovery of ashes from storage following the closure (bankruptcy) of a funeral director.
3. This enquiry concerned disputed signatures on 3 sets of application forms for cremations (detailed report submitted to Scottish Ministers on 1 February 2017).
4. There have been a number of enquiries concerning deceased persons having multiple addresses with different ones being recorded on documentation.
5. This complaint concerned an allegation from a bereaved parent that requested information was not being provided by the cremation authority.
6. This enquiry concerned a dispute between relatives regarding the legal entitlement of a person to make application for cremation.
7. This enquiry concerned procedures regarding the disposal of legally retained organ and body parts.
8. This complaint concerned information from a 'whistleblower' regarding alleged actions by a person within the funeral industry (detailed report submitted to Scottish Ministers on 13 December 2017).
9. This enquiry concerned a cremation having been carried out without the required Form E1 from COPFS having been issued (detailed report submitted to Scottish Ministers dated 29 September 2017).
10. This complaint concerned a question of the legality and wording of a disclaimer on documentation required as part of an application for cremation.
11. This complaint concerned information from a 'whistleblower' regarding alleged incorrect advice being given to bereaved parents.
12. This enquiry concerned issues relating to the exhumation of ashes following expiry of a lease.
13. This enquiry concerned issues relating to combined ashes being presented for internment.
14. This enquiry concerned a request for cremation of a pregnancy loss delivered at home with no medical intervention.
15. This enquiry concerned a dispute over entitlement to collect ashes from a crematorium.
16. This enquiry concerned inaccurate information on the nameplate on a coffin delivered for cremation.
17. This complaint concerned information from a 'whistleblower' regarding alleged malpractice by staff.
18. There have been a number of enquiries concerning the policies of crematoriums where the applicant does not wish to engage the services of a funeral director.
All the above complaints / enquiries have either been resolved in full by the Inspector, are in the process of being investigated by the Inspector or have been passed to the appropriate agency for further investigation.
When considered against the complaints and enquiries reported to the Inspector during the first eighteen months of his appointment, it is worthy of note that there have been no instances of mislabelling or inadvertently combining ashes during this period, compared to 3 such cases (impacting on 6 families) highlighted in the last annual report.
There has however been a noted increase in what is termed 'whistleblowing' with 3 such reports having been received. Whilst in 2 of the 3 cases the employers have a policy for dealing with such reports, the informants preferred to relay the information to someone independent.
The period of this report has seen a marked increase in the number of enquiries to the Inspector. This is considered most likely to be as a result of greater public awareness of the post, and following on from the various meetings and inputs to stakeholders.