My honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Bridget Prentice) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I have today laid before Parliament the Coroners (Amendment) Rules 2008. These rules amend Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules 1984 regarding coroners’ powers to make reports to prevent future deaths, and introduce a new rule to allow coroners to share relevant information with Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to enable them to carry out their statutory functions.
The amended Rule 43 places a new statutory duty on organisations receiving reports from coroners to respond within 56 days. Coroners must share reports and responses with those, including bereaved families, to whom they have assigned “interested person” status. They must also share reports and responses with the Lord Chancellor and they may share reports and responses with other interested organisations. Reports and responses will be centrally collated for the first time so that lessons learnt can be disseminated widely where appropriate and there is national oversight more generally.
A new rule will require coroners to notify LSCBs of any child death which is reported to them, and over which they have jurisdiction, and allow them to share information (such as reports from post-mortem examinations and documents given in evidence at an inquest) with LSCBs. This will enable LSCBs to better meet their statutory duty to conduct child death reviews and will contribute to the fulfilment of their statutory obligations more generally.
The rule was developed in partnership with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which is responsible for legislation regarding LSCBs.