News & Events

This section features events and developments in bereavement care in Lothian and beyond.

These may include announcements of forthcoming events, conferences, new services and information resources, as well as updates on relevant guidance and research. Items from previous years can be found in the archive pages (see left hand menu).

Any contributions of suitable items are most welcome. Please email

Latest News and Events

  • A service for those touched by suicide
  • National Infant Cremation Commission starts work
  • Dame Elish Angiolini begins Mortonhall Investigation
  • Welfare Reforms and Bereavement
  • Government announces implementation date for new Death Certification process



September 2013


A service for those touched by suicide

As part of National Suicide Prevention Week 2013 a special service will be held on Sunday 8th September for anybody touched by suicide. The service will take place at 3pm at Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.  It will be led by the Chaplains from the Edinburgh Royal Hospital. All are welcome.


May 2013

National Infant Cremation Commission starts work

An independent Infant Cremation Commission has been established by the Scottish Government to examine current policies, guidance, practice and legislation in relation to the handling of ashes from the cremations of babies and infants, and to make recommendations for improvement.
The Commission is keen to hear from anyone who can assist their work, in particular any individuals and organisations with relevant personal or professional experience in these matters, and has issued a public call for written submissions to be received by 19 July 2013.

Further information about the Commission and how to make a submission can be found on the Scottish Government website at:

Dame Elish Angiolini begins Mortonhall Investigation

Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC has begun her investigation into the cremation of babies at Mortonhall Crematorium.
Her remit will include reviewing the Crematorium files, conducting further investigations and interviews and drawing on other expert advice to enable her to reach her own findings.
A secure web portal has been established to allow bereaved parents and families or other interested parties to send information in strictest confidence. It is not managed by the City of Edinburgh Council and is not accessible to staff outwith the Investigation Team. 
Further information about the investigation and submitting information can be found at:


 April 2013 


Welfare Reforms and Bereavement

Please see information below for details of welfare changes from April 2013 which may specifically affect bereaved people.

Social Fund Funeral Payment -

Council Tax Benefit (which was previously a qualifying benefit for the Social Fund Funeral Payment) has been abolished and replaced with localised Council Tax Reduction Schemes (CTRS). The CTRS does not entitle claimants to a Social Fund Funeral Payment. Information about who is eligible to apply for the Funeral Payment can be found on the GOV.UK website or by phoning the DWP Bereavement Line on 0845 606 0265.
Housing Benefit -

The UK Government has introduced an under-occupation penalty (aka the "bedroom tax") on Housing Benefit for working age tenants in the social rented sector (councils and housing associations) who are deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms. Where the under-occupancy arises due to a death, in most cases the claimant will be protected from the penalty for up to 12 months. However, once Universal Credit is introduced this protection period may be reduced to 3 months.

The rules for Housing Benefit under-occupation penalty are complicated and anyone concerned about their entitlements should contact a local Citizen's Advice Bureau or other specialist advice service.


 January 2013


Government announces implementation date for new Death Certification process

The Certification of Death (Scotland) Act 2011 received Royal Assent in April 2011. In December 2012 the Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, approved plans to formally work towards a full national implementation date of 1st April 2014.  

The new process will involve a revised version of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and introduce a system of external scrutiny of death certificates by independent Medical Reviewers.

Last Reviewed: 03/09/2013