The Scottish Government has appointed Scotland’s first ever Inspector of Funeral Directors.
Natalie McKail, who will take up post in July, has previous experience as an inspector of environmental health, background in designing and implementing regulatory schemes and more latterly was a senior manager at Edinburgh City Council.
She will spend the first 18 months of her two-year appointment undertaking a review of the funeral profession, with a view to making recommendations to Ministers on how it should be regulated, including whether to introduce a licensing regime.
Confirming the appointment, Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “The appointment of the Inspector is an important recommendation of both the independent Commission led by Lord Bonomy and Dame Elish’s National Cremation Investigation.
“I’m pleased that Natalie McKail has agreed to take up the post for an initial period of two years and I look forward to receiving her recommendations on how best to regulate the profession, and whether that should include licencing. Natalie brings a wealth of experience to the role, which places her perfectly to meet the challenges it will bring.
“The approach we’re taking will ensure that any regulatory scheme reflects the diverse nature of the funeral profession in Scotland and ensures that bereaved families receive the best possible care at a time when they are potentially very vulnerable.”
On accepting the appointment Natalie McKail said: “I am delighted to accept the Ministerial appointment of Inspector of Funeral Directors, and look forward to working collaboratively with funeral directors, representative bodies and a broad range of stakeholders on behalf of the bereaved across Scotland, ensuring the highest standard of service at the most difficult time for families.
“It is my intention to listen carefully to the widest range of views, and to assess the current provision of funerals in Scotland over the next 18 months, before providing recommendations to the Minister on a regulatory framework for the future.”
In a joint statement, the National Association of Funeral Directors and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors said: “The NAFD and SAIF warmly welcome Natalie to the role of inspector of funeral directors, and look forward to working closely with her, as we have done with Government, to help shape the future of the profession in Scotland.
“We believe appointing an inspector of funeral directors is in the public interest and believe Natalie’s appointment will help keep standards high in the profession, as well as strengthen public confidence, and we look forward to forming a close working relationship and bringing her up to speed with all the issues affecting the funeral profession.”
The creation of the role fulfils important recommendations by the National Cremation Investigation, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, and by Lord Bonomy’s Infant Cremation Commission.