The Assistant Director of Organisation and Governance submitted a report that gave an update on the legal requirements following the retirement of the Senior Coroner for Teesside, Mr Michael Sheffield on 30th April 2014.
The Teesside coroner area encompasses Middlesbrough; Redcar and Cleveland; and Stockton councils. Middlesbrough Council is the Relevant Authority for the Teesside Coroner's Service as defined by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (the 2009 Act).
The Relevant Authority, in line with the legislative requirements, has informed the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor of the vacancy. The Lord Chancellor has informed the Relevant Authority that the Relevant Authority should produce a business case outlining whether or not the Teesside and Hartlepool Coroners Areas should merge.
The Relevant Authority will produce the business case after consulting with key stakeholders. A timetable and overview of key actions was provided in the report. The Business Case will be approved by Executive before being submitted to the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor will then decide, after further consultation with stakeholders, whether or not the two Coroners Areas will merge. To date mergers have only been implemented by the Lord Chancellor when all stakeholders are in agreement with the proposal to merge. However, the Lord Chancellor has reserved the right to merge areas even where there is disagreement to the merger.
1. the approach be endorsed; and
2. the Assistant Director Organisation and Governance be given a mandate to develop the business case.
The decision was supported by the following reason:
Production of the business case has been requested by the Lord Chancellor. It will also provide an opportunity to ensure that options for coroner arrangement for the area are robustly assessed.