In October last year a complaint was made against Mintlyn Crematorium claiming the form being accepted as an ‘application for cremation of a body’ did not comply with the Cremation Regulations 2008.
The Ministry of Justice later confirmed the form was ‘non-statutory’ so did not comply with the regulations.
After many weeks and several letters the council’s Chief Executive finally reported the complaint was upheld.
Another council officer thought the non-statutory form had been in use for a number of years and possibly since the new regulations became law in January 2009.
The new forms were introduced as a result of the Shipman Inquiry and were designed to help reduce the risk of further serial killings.
The non-statutory forms used by Mintlyn had been changed so the important information on the applicants ‘Right to View medical reports’ had been moved to an inside page, so was not in view of the person just signing the form on the back page.
The resources and performance panel is the committee of elected councillors tasked with overseeing the council complaints procedure.
Each year they are presented with a report containing details of complaints received by the council during the preceding period April to March.
The council CEO presented a summary report of upheld complaints to the committee on the 2nd September 2014.
The upheld complaint regarding the use of non-statutory forms by the crematorium was not included in the report.
The reason it was not in the report was the complaint had not been recorded in the list of all complaints received by the council.
A second upheld complaint, again regarding cremation, was incorrectly recorded as ‘not justified’ and listed under Leisure, not the Crematorium Department.
It could be alleged that these were mistakes, a cover-up or consider it maladministration, in any case democratic policies and procedures in place have so far failed to record the true facts in council records.