National Committee on Infant Cremation: code of practice (second edition)

Key principles and minimum standards for all organisations conducting infant cremations, as agreed by the National Committee on Infant Cremation.

Code of Practice - Level 1

1. The deceased infant*, their family and their friends must be treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity at all times.

2. The nearest relative* must be the main signatory or applicant on all relevant documents, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

3. The principle of informed choice for next of kin* must apply to all decision-making discussions and documentation. This must include transparency as to alternative options and applicable costs, and provide clarity over who may hold future decision-making powers.

4. Communication with, and the information available to, family and friends of the deceased must be consistent across all involved organisations and institutions.

5. Next of kin must be allowed some time to reflect and, if necessary, make changes to their initial decisions.

6. Next of kin must be provided with a copy of any documentation signed by them.

7. 'Ashes' is defined as '"the material (other than any metal) to which human remains are reduced by cremation". "Human remains" includes, where remains are clothed, in a coffin or with any other things, the clothing, coffin or other thing.

8. All organisations and institutions involved in infant cremations* must adhere to the principle of maximising the recovery of ashes when agreeing contracts, arranging and/or conducting infant cremations.

9. Arrangements relating to any hospital-arranged infant cremations must be set out in a contract / be agreed in writing between NHS, funeral director, cremation authority and/or burial authority, as applicable.

10. All organisations and institutions involved in infant cremations must regularly review their own procedures and policies to ensure best practice is maintained.

11. All organisations and institutions involved in infant cremations must establish regular sharing and learning of multi-agency and cross-country best practice.

12. All relevant staff must successfully complete relevant, available training before their involvement in discussing, organising or conducting infant cremations.

13. Records must be accurate, clear, accessible and maintained electronically where possible.

14. All organisations and institutions involved in infant cremations must allow and assist with regular inspection of their premises, personnel, policies, procedures and/or records etc by the individuals or bodies designated by statute for this purpose.

15. All organisations involved in infant cremations must ensure that all their existing or new infant cremation policies, codes of practice, guidance, procedures and processes adhere to this national Code of Practice, including its supplementary Level 2 Guidelines and any accompanying Explanatory Notes.

16. All organisations involved in infant cremations must ensure they are and continue to be fully compliant with the law in Scotland.

* See 'Definitions' Annex



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