Statutory inspection of burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors

A Scottish Government consultation on the proposed statutory inspection of burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors in Scotland.

Section 7 - Inspection Reports

Previous Consultation

129. The 2017 consultation noted the Scottish Government’s proposal that inspectors will have a duty to produce a written report after each inspection, which sets out the inspector’s findings and any areas of non-compliance with the 2016 Act, regulations, Code of Practice or conditions of licence. However, a corresponding question about this topic was not asked in the 2017 consultation.

130. The Inspection Regulations Working Group discussed the topic of inspection reports in their first meeting. In the course of their discussion, the group suggested that reports should be pro-actively published. Further, the group discussed that authorities and businesses should be given time for a ‘right of reply’ to allow them to respond to the report before it is published.

131. Since the 2017 consultation and Working Group meeting the Scottish Government has further developed this proposal, in particular proposing that authorities or businesses be given the opportunity to correct factual inaccuracies of their inspection report.

Scottish Government Position

132. During an inspection of a cremation authority, burial authority or funeral director business Inspectors will assess performance against (where relevant) the standards set out in the 2016 Act, regulations, Codes of Practice, and conditions of licence. It is intended that Inspectors will have a duty to produce a written report after each inspection (under powers provided in Section 90(3)(d) of the 2016 Act).

133. It is intended that the inspection reports will follow a predetermined template. It is not intended that inspection reports will have a grading or marking system (e.g. pass/fail). Instead, the report will set out the Inspector’s findings from the visit, in particular where there are any compliance issues.

Factual Accuracy of Inspection Reports

134. Once drafted, the Scottish Government proposes that draft inspection reports will be sent to the inspected business or authority who will have an opportunity to respond on the factual content of the report. We currently propose that responses would be required within 14calendar days from date of issue of the report.

135. The rationale for this is because it is recognised that there may be some inaccuracies in a draft inspection report. These may be due to, for example, an error by the Inspector or a mistake or omission in the information given by the authority or business which impacts the factual accuracy of the draft report. Any inaccuracies are important to identify before an inspection report is finalised, due to the importance of the report in terms of: the assessment of an authority or business’s compliance with set standards (and therefore risk of enforcement action); for funeral director businesses, the use of the inspection report as evidence for or against the granting or refusal of licence applications; and reputational risk to the authority, business, or Scottish Government.

136. Once the factual accuracy of a report has been agreed, it is intended the report would then be published on the relevant webpage of the Scottish Government website.

Recommendations Within Inspection Reports

137. Where recommendations have been made for improving compliance, it will be expected that relevant bodies will seek to make those improvements (and may be supported by Inspectors through the ‘improvement approach’ described earlier in this consultation). If necessary, where there has been a refusal to improve compliance, or a flagrant instance of non-compliance, the evidence in these reports of the observed non-compliance will be used to inform possible enforcement action.

Question 19 - Please provide your views about whether 14 days is an appropriate timescale to require a response to the inspection report.

14 days is too long

14 days is appropriate

14 days is too short

Don’t know

Question 20 - Please provide any other views about the proposed approach to inspection reports.



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