Scotland – Covid-19 – Updated 17 July 2020

Updated guidance – 17 July 2020

The Scottish Government has updated all their guidance documents to coincide with the wider changes that have come about as a result of moving further into Phase 3 of the Route Map.  Please see the Scottish Government latest blog post to read a short summary of the changes and the link to the guidance.

Test and Protect – 14 July 2020

Scotland’s ‘Test and Protect – Multi-sector guidance on collection of customer and visitor contact details’ was published today.

To see how it will impact funeral services, funeral directors, and your businesses (from tomorrow), read the Scottish Government full post on this subject.

Easing of funeral restrictions – 10 July 2020

The First Minister has today (10 July) provided further information on the easing of funeral service restrictions, including a 20 limit cap on attendance with physical distancing.
From 15 July, crematoriums will be permitted to reopen to members of the public for all services, in addition to funeral services.
Please visit the Scottish Government latest blog post for the full update.

Mandatory face coverings from 10 July in shops, retail settings and private hire vehicles.

Staying safe and keeping others safe by wearing face coverings* has been made mandatory from today (10 July) in shops and retail settings, and in private hire vehicles. New guidance is available, with also dedicated guidance for retail settings. This requirement applies to funeral director businesses.

Face coverings are not mandatory in Scottish crematoria or cemeteries.

*A face covering is defined as any type of protective clothing which covers a person’s nose and mouth, which includes fabric face coverings, scarves and visors. It could be, but is not required to be, a PPE face mask. Customers are expected to provide their own face coverings but shops and retailers are strongly encouraged to have their own stocks of face coverings available as an initial encouragement to those customers without face coverings.

Further information can be found on the Scottish Government Funeral Industry Blog

Easing of funeral restrictions from 15th July

The first minister has announced that funeral restrictions will begin to ease from 15th July. Further details can be found here.

Mental Health And Well-being Support Is AvailableScottish Government

The coronavirus outbreak has changed daily life for all in Scotland. It’s had a real impact on how many of us are feeling. In the latest Scottish Government blog post you’ll find mental health and well-being resources to support both people and businesses for both during and after this crisis.

Please know that support is always available to you. 

Scottish Government Update

Last Wednesday (24 June) The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced when further changes to lockdown restrictions might take effect for the remainder of Phase 2 and early Phase 3. Funeral service restrictions are unlikely to be eased before 23 July, alongside marriages and civil partnerships, though this will of course be kept under review.

To read the full update, head to the Scottish Government blog post

Refreshed Funeral Services Guidance

Scotland are now if Phase 1 of their route map for lockdown exit and transition. Funeral service restrictions remain in place, and the Scottish Government have refreshed their guidance on funeral services to reflect this. The latest guidance, updated on 2nd June 2020, can be found here.

Scotland’s Route Map Through and Out of the Crisis – 21 May 2020

The Scottish First Minister has published a route map to provide a framework for decision making through and out of the coronavirus crisis. The route map gives an indication of the order in which they will carefully and gradually seek to change current restrictions. It provides practical examples of what people, organisations and businesses can expect to see change over time. The phasing table will continue to be updated. The Route Map document can be viewed here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance for Funeral Directors – 13 May 2020

The Health Protection Division of the Scottish Government has published revised guidance for funeral directors on managing infection risks when handling the deceased and funeral services. A copy of the Guidance can be found here.

Scottish Government Update – 11 May 2020

Health Improvement Scotland’s Death Certification Review Service will reinstate reviews at 4% of all Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs or Form 11s) at 9AM today – further details can be found here.

Scottish Government Update – 1 May 2020

Update 1: The Scottish Government is going to great lengths to support business and is offering a package of support worth £2.3 billion. Guidance is available and can be reviewed here.

Update 2: We recently posted about access to testing for key workers, which includes members of the funeral industry and which is available to those that are symptomatic. That post is here.

Update 3: We continue to review and update our guidance documentation for funeral directors and burial and cremation authorities. These guidance documents have been updated today. All documentation can be accessed all together in one place for your convenience via our blog post here.

Update 4: Social Security Scotland have provided an update and would also like to know if there is anything they can do to help improve the application experience when applying for funeral support payments. You can email your suggestion(s) to:

Scottish Government Update – 24 April 2020

The Scottish Government has published guidance relating to The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2020 that came into force on 21 April 2020 (see post below).

Please see the SG updated blog post, which has details on the amendments to the Regulations regarding public access to burial grounds and crematorium gardens of remembrance (access is at each cremation authority’s discretion).

In other recent news, in addition to offering a remote registration service, NRS is moving to offer a seven day service, but check with your local authority first as it’s based on local need. SG have a post about it here

Finally, SG have recently updated their funeral director, funeral services, and burial and cremation authority guidance documents. Please keep checking the sources for the most recent versions because the SG do/will regularly review and update all of their guidance documents, and please also notify your colleagues to do the same. These are part of a collection of guidance documents and are accessible here.

Scottish Government Update – 22 April 2020

On 21 April 2020 the Scottish Government published Coronavirus (COVID-19): local death management – statutory guidance for local authorities. The Statutory guidance relate to Schedule 28 of the Coronavirus Act (2020) which introduced new powers for local authorities and government to support the resilience of local death management systems, and step in if they become overwhelmed.

On 21 April 2020 the Scottish Government published The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2020. This clarifies the position in Scotland relating to the closure of crematoria and burial grounds. The new regulations remove wording relating to burial grounds and burials in paragraph 9, and adds a sub-paragraph, (9A), stating that paragraph 9 does not apply to any grounds surrounding a crematorium. Paragraph 9 and 9A now read:

(9) A person who is responsible for a crematorium must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium is closed to members of the public, except for funerals where reasonable measures are taken to ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between every person on the premises of the crematorium during the funeral (other than between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer).

(9A) Paragraph (9) does not apply to the grounds surrounding a crematorium, including any burial ground or garden of remembrance.

Scottish Government Update – 14 April 2020

The Scottish Government has published guidance for Funeral Directors, Burial and Cremation Authorities, and Funeral Services. These are available on the Scottish Government’s main COVID-19 guidance webpage, and at links in their latest blog post (13 April).  To see the post, please go to Funeral Industry News.

Scottish Government Update – 13 April 2020

The Scottish Government has issued an update on PPE in Scotland.

Scottish Government Updates – 8 April 2020

Update 1:
Please note that as posted on the Scottish Government Funeral Industry News blog on Monday 6 April 2020, Scottish Ministers have (as of today 8 April) relaxed arrangements around who can arrange a funeral, as well as suspended the duties in relation to handling ashes that are normally placed on funeral directors, cremation authorities and local authorities.  To read about this important change in more detail, please do go to their blog post here.

Update 2: 
Information has been posted on their blog about the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which came into effect from 26 March 2020. These regulations set out temporary restrictions on the opening to the public of crematoriums and also restrictions around funeral services.  Information is available here.

Burial And Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 – Changes To Cremation Procedures From 8 April 2020

The Scottish Government has recognised that funeral directors and cremation authorities are coming under increasing pressure at this time. They are therefore relaxing the arrangements around who can arrange a funeral, as well as suspending the duties in relation to handling ashes that are normally placed on funeral directors, cremation authorities and local authorities. These will come into effect from Wednesday 8 April 2020. Further details can be found on the Scottish Government blog.

2nd April 2020 – Cremation Application – Supplementary Form

The Scottish Government has advised:

We are aware that many funeral directors and cremation authorities are experiencing difficulties in obtaining signatures from those applying for cremation due to social distancing and self-isolation in response to COVID-19.

In order to ensure that cremations can go ahead without delay the attached supplementary form can be used by funeral directors when they are unable to obtain a signature. 

Cremation authorities will still have the right to ask for additional information about the application but should accept the supplementary form in place of a signature from the applicant.    

It is not appropriate for funeral directors to sign the cremation application form.  The signature section should be left blank and the supplementary form should be completed.  Funeral directors should keep an audit trail that clearly shows the instructions on the application form are those of the applicant. 

The supplementary form, which can be downloaded here, can start being used immediately.  Please email if you have any questions or concerns.

26 March 2020 – The Status of Funeral Directors as Key Workers

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on the status of funeral directors and key workers. The guidance can be viewed here.

26 March 2020 – Update on the Registration of Death Procedures in Scotland

Following the coming into force of the Coronavirus Act 2020, there have been changes to the registration of deaths and stillbirths procedures in Scotland. Documents explaining those changes can be found by clicking the links below:

Letter from Deputy Registrar General to Registrars and Registration Managers

Guidance to Scottish Local Authorities for the Ongoing Provision of Registration Services During a Pandemic Situation

Guidance for Scottish Local Authorities on the Registration of Deaths and Still-births When Registration Offices are Closed to the Public During a Pandemic

26 March 2020 – Suspension of the Review of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death.

Under the UK Coronavirus Act 2020, Scottish Ministers have made the decision today to suspend the referral of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCD) to the Death Certification Review Service (DCRS) for review.  This came into effect from 14:00 today (26 March).

This decision has been made to enable the DCRS to deploy their resources to focus on supporting urgent COVID-19 work.

The effect of the suspension on existing reviews under the 2011 Act is set out in paragraphs 3 to 5 of schedule 14 of the 2020 Act, and the suspension will be in effect until revoked by Direction of the Scottish Ministers under paragraph 2 of schedule 14 of the 2020 Act. The Coronavirus Act 2020 can be viewed here. The Direction suspending the referral of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCD) to the Death Certification Review Service (DCRS) can be viewed here.

26 March 2020 – Public Health Scotland has published updated guidance, which includes appropriate handling of Covid-19 Deceased. The guidance, which links to UK-wide advice on pandemic coronavirus infection control, can be found here.

25 March 2020 – The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, addressed the nation on Monday night on what the new lockdown measures mean for Scotland. She noted measures specific to funerals, details of which can be found here.

A newsletter issued by the Scottish Government on 25 March 2020 can be found here.