HM Inspector of Crematoria: annual report 2016-2018

Second annual report from the Inspector of Crematoria for Scotland.

Current Enquiries (of note)

It has recently been reported to the Inspector that a number of crematoriums, who hitherto, have accepted NHS shared pregnancy loss for cremation, are considering no longer continuing with this arrangement.

At the time of writing this report the reasons for cremation authorities considering such a change are unclear, and it should be stressed that such a change is only likely to relate to private crematoriums.

Whilst there is not a statutory duty on local authorities to provide such a service (the service is provided to NHS) public expectation is for public bodies to work together.

The Inspector has prioritised dialogue with the relevant stakeholders on this very important issue.

A further matter which has recently been raised relates to the lack of inclusive space for internment or scattering of ashes for those of a non-Christian faith or of no religion. It has also been said that there is a lack of transparency in making this information known to applicants in advance of the cremation.

There have also been concerns raised over the presence of Christian religious symbols, particularly the 'cross' in chapels and gardens of remembrance. There have been a number of occasions where at the request of applicants steps have been taken (where practical) to remove or conceal the cross (in chapel) for the duration of the service.

The Inspector is involved in ongoing discussion with a number of stakeholders, and has met with the Humanist Society Scotland, to address some of these concerns. It is their view that current practices leave their 15.000 members and those of other non-Christian faiths and beliefs open to discrimination as defined under the Equality Act 2010.

It is understood that these two recently reported issues (shared pregnancy loss and religious symbols) originate from the same complaint.


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