I am pleased to lay and publish the Chief Coroner’s combined sixth and seventh annual reports to the Lord Chancellor on the operation of coroner services under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”). The joint report covers both 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.
Publication of the sixth report was delayed last year, and in the light of the emerging covid-19 pandemic at the start of 2020, it was considered preferable to postpone its publication until later in the year and release it as a joint edition with the seventh report.
In particular, the Chief Coroner’s report sets out:
The work that he as well as coroners, their officers and their staff have achieved to manage the effects of the covid-19 pandemic;
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; and
Recommendations to improve coroner services further.
Annexed to the report are the Chief Coroner’s revised “A Model Coroner Area” blueprint, the list of cases over 12 months old reported to the Chief Coroner and tables of senior and area coroners’ salaries.
I am very grateful to His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC for building so effectively on his previous achievements as well as those of his predecessor, His Honour Sir Peter Thornton QC. I also thank him for his excellent and much appreciated service since October 2016 as he now moves on to become the full-time recorder of London. I am particularly grateful that he continued to serve as Chief Coroner over the last months to guide and support coroners in facing the incredibly difficult challenge of the covid-19 pandemic.
I am grateful too to all coroners and their officers and other staff, for having supported the Chief Coroner to improve services for bereaved people and for their valued and continuing frontline work. Their work in managing the impact of the pandemic on their own services but also more widely, in support of their local resilience fora, has been inestimable.
The report will be available online at: https://www.gov.uk/ government/publications/chief-coroners-combined-annual-report-2018-to-2019-and-2019-to-2020