North and North East Lincolnshire’s coroner area is set to be merged Greater Lincolnshire coroner areas in a move that will streamline the service and give better support to bereaved families.
The merger proposals have been approved by the Ministry of Justice and current HM senior coroner Paul Smith will become the HM senior coroner for Greater Lincolnshire from 1 April, pending parliamentary approval.
The new area will become one of the largest and busiest in the country and enable the service to work consistently across the whole of Greater Lincolnshire.
Coroners investigate all deaths where the cause is unknown, where there is reason to think the death may not be due to natural causes, or which need an inquiry for some other reason.
Larger coronial areas are believed to be more effective, allowing work to be managed more efficiently.
Cllr Stephen Harness, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Resources and Assets at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “I welcome the decision by the Ministry of Justice to have a coroner’s service that spans the whole of Greater Lincolnshire and provide a better service across the whole geographical area.
“Working in this way will help us provide a joined up, more efficient service, sharing and cooperating behind the scenes. The merger will provide greater resilience and flexibility for the service, and reduce inquest waiting times. The needs of bereaved families are at the heart of the new arrangements – something that’s always at the forefront of our minds.”
Cllr Sue Woolley, executive councillor for registration and coroners at Lincolnshire County Council, said:
“Times of bereavement are incredibly difficult for families. The coroner’s service is an important legal function, but also one that can give closure and peace to loved ones. By integrating the service over the whole of Greater Lincolnshire, we are ensuring that there is greater collaboration and a consistently high service for bereaved families.”