Mortuary review group: response

Response to review the standard of all mortuaries across Scotland, as defined by the Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008.

Contracts/MOU between Partner public sector organisations

The arrangements between Local Authorities, Health Boards, COPFS, Police and Universities are complex, for example the facility in Dundee is owned by Police Scotland, who also contributed to the mortuary facilities in Glasgow when there was no statutory obligation for them to do so. The arrangements appear to have developed over time and are difficult to align and reconcile back to the responsibilities of each organisation. There is substantial variation across the country with only some of these provisions are underpinned by written agreements.

Crown Office is separately conducting a review of their current arrangements with the aim of developing a standard contract template, working towards standardising arrangements with the intention of using Health Board facilities in agreement with Local Authorities. This work is still on-going.


  • Contracts/ MOU between partners as required by the duties in the Public Health Act must be agreed, monitored and periodically reviewed.
  • Compliance with the contract/ MOU must be monitored e.g. where a local authority discharges its statutory duty through the service and facility provision by the Health Boards, then it is incumbent upon the Health Board to provide assurance to the Local Authority and COPFS, where relevant, that they are adhering to standards.
  • There must be an agreed protocol for raising concerns and complaints about any aspect of the mortuary service including a single point of contact for all complaints and concerns.


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