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The Coroner Service annual report will be discussed at the Communities and Partnership Committee meeting next week (8 August).

The Committee will review progress made over the past year as well as look at the current pressures on the service.

The service has had some noteworthy improvements, including the excellent working relationships with the new Medical Examiners in the area, such as the scheme at Addenbrooke’s Hospital which is leading the way. A new case management system means less is being done in paper form and by post with a more digital focus.   

The biggest challenge is around increasing workloads, the service is seeing a significant number of exceptionally complex deaths which can be difficult and time consuming to investigate and conclude, particularly from hospitals and prisons.

Although, the number of referrals has remained constant, there has been an increase in the number of highly complex cases. These cases have nearly doubled from 10.5% to 19.2%.

For these reasons and a range of other factors, the cost of the service is increasing. The committee will hear about an action plan to help with these demands.

Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee, Cllr Steve Criswell said: “This is such a sensitive and emotive area of the council so it’s only right we continue to have oversight of this area of the business since it moved from Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee.

"The report sets out significant improvements but also the challenges facing the Coroner Service and I’m keen to ensure the service can meet the increasing demands going forward.” 

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