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Government Responds to Bonomy Report

The report from the Infant Cremation Commission, chaired by Lord Bonomy, into policies and practices surrounding infant cremation in Scotland was recently published.

The Scottish Government has now given its response to the report, in which it says that it will set up a National Investigation team, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, and all parents with unanswered questions about the cremation of their baby will be able to have their case examined.

The Infant Cremation Commission was set up last year to investigate practices across Scotland’s crematoria and make recommendations for Government and other organisations to take forward.

It has produced 64 recommendations and the Scottish Government has confirmed that it will accept them all, including:

  • Setting up an Inspector of Crematoria to monitor working practices at crematoria across Scotland, with the option to extend inspections to the funeral industry after legislative powers are granted.
  • Implementing the legislative changes recommended by the Infant Cremation Commission in a new Burials and Cremation Bill, which will go out for public consultation by the end of 2014.
  • Defining ashes in the Burials and Cremation Bill as ‘all that is left in the cremator and the end of the cremation process’ ensuring all crematoria are following the same practices.
  • Establishing a National Committee, chaired by the Scottish Government and including representation from parents, to take forward the recommendations. The National Committee will hold its first meeting no later than Autumn 2014 and develop a national Code of Practice for individuals involved in the cremation process.
  • Asking local authorities to consider the option for local memorials, where there is a desire from parents to have one. The National Committee will also look at the options for a national memorial dedicated to the babies whose ashes were mishandled or mismanaged and will discuss this with affected parents and bereavement support groups.

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