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Appendix 1: Information Sources and Guidance

Civil Emergencies - Disaster victim identification (UK DVI Guidance)

Interpol – DVI Guide

Faith Communities and Pandemic Flu: Guidance for faith communities and local influenza pandemic committees

Guidance letter on procedure for death certification during an influenza pandemic, 2017

Pandemic Flu: A Scottish framework for responding to an influenza pandemic

Planning for a Possible Influenza Pandemic – A Framework for Planners Preparing to Manage Deaths – Home Office - 30th August 2007

Preparing Scotland: Scottish guidance on preparing for emergencies

Preparing Scotland: Scottish Guidance on Preparing for Emergencies: Responding to Emergencies in Scotland

Responding to pandemic influenza - The ethical framework for policy and planning –
Cabinet Office and Department of Health – 28 November 2007
Warning and Informing Scotland: Communicating with the Public
Warning and Informing Scotland - Using Social Media in Emergencies

Appendix 2: Principal Legislation applying to deaths in Scotland

Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act 1855

Cremation (Scotland) Regulations, 1935

Cremation (Scotland) Regulations, 1952

Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965

Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008

Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011

Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016

Appendix 3: Registration of deaths in Scotland

The law allows a death in Scotland to be registered in any registration district and the death can be registered by a qualified informant. That is:

  • Any relative of the deceased, or
  • Any person present when the person died, or
  • The deceased's executor or other legal representative, or
  • The occupier of the property where the person died, or if there is no such person,
  • Anyone else who knows the information to be registered.
  • The informant is required to attend a registration office within 8 days of the date of death to register the death. The informant should take with them the following:
  • The medical certificate of cause of death (Form 11);
  • The deceased's birth and marriage certificate;
  • The deceased's NHS medical card;
  • Any documents relating to the receipt of a pension or allowance from government funds.

The registered medical practitioner who attended the deceased during their last illness has a statutory duty to certify the cause of death on the prescribed form (Form 11) and give it to the informant or to the district registrar (where no medical practitioner was in attendance, or where he/she is unable to provide a medical certificate, then any medical practitioner who is able to do so may certify).

A death can be registered in the absence of a qualified informant on the authority of the Registrar General provided he/she is satisfied that the correct particulars concerning the death are available. When the registration is complete the registrar will give the informant, free of charge:

  • a certificate of registration of death for production to the person in charge of the burial ground or crematorium;
  • a Social Security registration or notification of death certificate for use in obtaining or adjusting Social Security benefits;
  • an abbreviated extract (i.e. excluding cause of death and parentage details) of the death entry;
  • a full extract of the death entry can be obtained a for a fee;

A registrar is expected to report any sudden, suspicious, accidental, unexpected or unexplained death to the local Procurator Fiscal. In particular, the Procurator Fiscal will want to know from the registrar of any death where the circumstances or evidence suggest that the death may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • any death due to violent, suspicious or unexplained cause
  • any death related to occupation, for example industrial disease or poisoning
  • any death involving fault or neglect on the part of another
  • any death as a result of abortion or attempted abortion
  • possible or suspected suicide
  • any death as a result of medical mishap, and any death where a complaint is received which suggests that medical treatment or the absence of treatment may have contributed to the death
  • any death resulting from an accident
  • any death arising out of the use of a vehicle including an aircraft, ship or train
  • any death by drowning
  • any death due to poisoning or suspected poisoning, including by prescription or non-prescription drugs, other substances, gas or solvent fumes
  • any death by burning or scalding, or as a result of a fire or explosion
  • any death due to a notifiable infectious disease, or food poisoning
  • certain deaths of children - any death of a newborn child whose body is found, any sudden death in infancy, any death due to suffocation including overlaying, any death of a foster child
  • any death in legal custody
  • any death of a person of residence unknown, who died other than in a house
  • any death at work, whether or not as a result of an accident
  • any death where a doctor has been unable to certify a cause.

In addition, the certifying doctor also has a duty to report such deaths. So the procurator fiscal will normally receive a report from both the registrar and the certifying doctor.

Appendix 4: Cremation requirements in Scotland

1. Requirements for cremation

As set out in the Cremation Regulations (Scotland) 1935 as amended and the Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011:

i. The applicant (usually next of kin or executor) must sign a completed application form (Form A) which must be countersigned by a householder who knows the applicant in order to apply for cremation.

The completed form A is required in addition to the Certificate of Registration of

Death (Form 14), provided by the registrar, before cremation can take place. Where a death has occurred in England or Wales:

  • The death must be registered in England or Wales.
  • The Form 4 (The Medical Certificate) and Form 5 (Confirmatory Medical Certificate) to be completed by the doctors in England OR a Form 6 (Certificate of Coroner).
  • A Form 103 (Permission to move out of England and Wales Form) is required from the coroner.
  • A Scottish Form A or Form 1 from England or Wales (Application for Cremation) will need to be completed by the applicant.

In addition the crematorium must also keep its own register of all cremations which take place on the premises.

2. Involvement of the procurator fiscal

If the procurator fiscal has ordered a post-mortem examination and/or undertakes a Fatal Accident Inquiry, the procurator fiscal completes a certificate (Form E1) which is required in addition to the Form 14, provided by the registrar, and the application for cremation (Form A) before cremation can take place.

Appendix 5: Requirements of Burial

Changes under the Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011 mean that burial cannot take place until the burial authority has been provided with a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) provided by the registrar. It is also a standard requirement that an application for burial be completed by the next of kin or executor.

Appendix 6: Crematoria Standards in the Event of Mass Fatalities


1. This note is issued as a precautionary measure in the event of a national emergency giving rise to mass fatalities. The Scottish Government will alert SEPA when an emergency situation exists which triggers the guidance. There will be a similar alert when the situation is at an end after which the guidance will no longer apply.


2. The Process Guidance Note for Crematoria PG 5/2(12) (as amended) comprises statutory guidance on standards which constitute Best Available Techniques for the operation of crematoria under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012. This includes limits on emissions of various polluting substances. SEPA is required to have regard to the guidance.

3. In the event of mass fatalities, such as could arise from pandemic flu, crematoria may need to operate for sustained periods. This means that there is a greater prospect of breakdown of equipment, including equipment for abating air emissions. There could also be implications for staffing of crematoria.

Current Guidance

4. The Scottish Government wish to remind SEPA and operators that paragraph 5.33 of PG5/2(12) states that it is good practice to ensure that spares and consumables are available at short notice and to have an audited list of essential items.

5. Paragraph 5.33 further advises that:

  • those spares and consumables subject to continual wear should be held on site or should be available at short notice from guaranteed local suppliers so that plant breakdowns can be rectified rapidly; and
  • staff at all levels need the necessary training and instruction in their duties relating to the control of the process and emissions to air and refer, among other things, to the Crematorium Technicians Training Scheme and to the Training and Examination Scheme for Cremation Technicians.
Guidance in the event of mass fatalities

6. In taking account of the guidance in paragraph 5.33, SEPA and crematoria operators should bear in mind that:

a) large quantities of spare and consumables may be needed in the event of an emergency causing mass fatalities; and

b) an emergency causing mass fatalities may have implications for the number of trained staff that can be called upon.

7. In order to minimise the potential for breakdowns during such an emergency, it is important that all crematoria plan for such an eventuality, taking account of a) and b) above.

8. If this is done, there might nonetheless be either a breakdown of equipment affecting air emissions or a shortage of staff trained on the air pollution aspects of operating the crematorium. There might also be a heightened demand which warrants operating any standby crematorium for longer than the 100 hours specified in paragraph 5.27 of PG5/2(12). In such circumstances, and in the public interest, the Scottish Government consider SEPA should take a balanced view to enforcement action in the event of a breach of permit conditions. If best endeavours have been taken to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or staff shortage, it may well be appropriate to allow a crematorium to continue to operate while breaching permit conditions without any enforcement action being taken. One consideration may be whether the area in question is designated a local Air Quality Management Area for any of the pollutants emitted from the crematorium. Steps should be taken to rectify the breaches where practicable and as soon as is feasible. The Scottish Government would not expect these allowances to be continued beyond the duration of the emergency.

9. This guidance is without prejudice to any restrictions or requirements there may be under health and safety legislation.

10. This guidance is issued under regulation 61(1) of the Pollution Prevention and

Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012.

Environmental Quality Division Environment and Forestry Directorate Scottish Government

Area 1-D North Victoria Quay Edinburgh.

EH6 6QQ January 2015

Appendix 7: Health, Welfare and Spiritual Aspects of a Mass Fatalities


Arranging a funeral? – The Scottish Government Bereavement Care, Scottish Government

Faith in Community Scotland

Pandemic Influenza Guidance on preparing mental health services in Scotland

Supporting Scottish Grief & Bereavement Care bereavement/supporting-scottish-grief-bereavement-care/

Support Around Death

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