I am pleased to lay and publish the Chief Coroner’s fourth annual report to the Lord Chancellor on the operation of coroner services under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (‘the 2009 Act’). The report covers the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.
In particular the Chief Coroner’s report sets out:
- The continuing work to promote consistency in the resourcing of and practices in coroner offices across England and Wales;
- The training and guidance that coroners and their officers have received and the engagement with a wide range of stakeholders;
- Recommendations to improve coroner services further.
His Honour Sir Peter Thornton QC retired as Chief Coroner on 30 September 2016 and His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC took up post as Chief Coroner on 1 October 2016.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Sir Peter for his dedication to improving coroner services in England and Wales during his term as first Chief Coroner and the sound foundations he put in place for his successor, as well as for coroners more generally. Under his leadership the number of outstanding cases reduced; his guidance to coroners and training both to coroners and others have enhanced national standards and have brought a level of consistency to the coroner service across England and Wales, making sure that bereaved people are at its heart.
I would also like to record my appreciation for the fine work that Judge Lucraft has done since he took up post last year.
I am grateful too to coroners and their officers and other staff, for having supported both Chief Coroners to improve services for bereaved people and for their valued and continuing frontline work.
Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office. The document will also be available online, at gov.uk.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: