‘Sharp increase in deaths’ putting strain on Cambridgeshire’s coroners

PUBLISHED: 16:56 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 10 July 2018

Coroner's court

Coroner's court


A “sharp increase in deaths” is putting strain on coroners, a Cambridgeshire County Council meeting heard today.

The meeting of the highways and community infrastructure committee at Shire Hall heard the coroner’s budget for the next year is facing a shortfall of nearly half a million pounds – and that the increase in deaths is resulting in some not being investigated for as long as two years.

Cambridgeshire expects a £290,000 overspend on the coroner’s budget in 2018-19 – CCC’s share of an overall shortfall of £446,000, which is split with the Peterborough authority.

County councillor David Jenkins said: “This is a classic demand-led service. I think we need to be upfront and honest about this shortfall. There are some structural issues behind this, and we need to address those.”

The committee heard that the additional budget strain was due to a “sharp increase in deaths” in the county.

As a result, more staff were having to be brought in to cope with the extra demand of investigating the deaths, with other costs like the cost of storing bodies and carrying our post-mortems also adding to the bill.

The committee was also told that Cambridgeshire experienced more than its share of complicated deaths to investigate, given the relatively high number of hospitals and prisons in the county.

The chief coroner’s guidance requires inquests “to be heard within 12 months and preferably within six months” of the date of referral. Some cases, however, are having to wait more than two years before they can be looked at.

Work is ongoing to tackle the build-up of cases, and councillors praised the efforts to clear the backlog.

Despite the pressures, the committee heard Cambridgeshire’s coroner’s office was performing well when compared with some others in the country.

Councillor Mathew Shuter, chairman of the highways and community infrastructure committee, said the work being done at the coroner’s office should be “commended”, and he welcomed work being done to improve the situation.

Mr Shuter said: “I think this is always a very difficult area. We cannot do anything about this. It is just reflective of what is going on.

“However, what is going on to get rid of the backlog is great, and must be commended. We continue to support the work of the coroner.”

Cllr Simon King agreed, saying it was “good to see that they were getting to the bottom of the backlog”.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:20

The A505 heading towards Royston from Baldock is closed after a tractor – which was transporting cattle – overturned.

Yesterday, 12:37

We asked a University of Hertfordshire astrophysicist for expert advice on watching incredible meteor showers in the night sky this weekend.

Yesterday, 08:29

Melbourn Community Hub has hosted an exhibition to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Tue, 16:43

A report has been written recognising the problems with the North Herts District Council waste contract, with two proposals to be discussed at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy