Scotland’s first Inspector of Funeral Directors

Natalie McKail, who has past experience with the funeral profession through her role in Edinburgh City Council during the Mortonhall ashes scandal, is expected to spend the first 18 months of her two year appointment broadly reviewing the profession, ultimately making recommendations on whether regulation and licensing should be introduced.

She 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.”

The appointment follows recommendations of two major investigations into cremation and the funeral profession.

Aileen Campbell MSP, the Public Health Minister, explained: “The appointment of the Inspector is an important recommendation of both the independent Commission led by Lord Bonomy and Dame Elish [Angiolini]’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 licensing. 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.”

According to the Scottish Government, during her time leading improvement efforts for Mortonhall Crematorium, Ms McKail “led and delivered improvements, as well as rebuilding trust and understanding between the council and affected parents and also the wider public”.


SAIF and the NAFD released a joint statement responding to the appointment, after April’s Stirling meeting showed strong support for an Inspector.

The associations 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.”

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