Issue details

17/00079 - Contract for Post Mortem Facilities for the North West Kent and North East Kent and Central and South East Kent coroner areas.

To award a four year contract for the provision of post mortem facilities to East Kent NHS Trust for the North East Kent and Central & South East Kent coroner areas


The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that:

·         The death was violent or unnatural;

·         The cause of death is unknown; or

·         The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention eg where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order (DoLS) is in place

In some cases the Coroner will order a post mortem to establish the cause of death. In these cases, bodies are taken to a pre-designated mortuary.  In 2016, of 3,695 deaths referred to the Senior Coroner for North East Kent and Central & South East Kent, 1,516 required a post mortem (41% of deaths referred).

On behalf of the Senior Coroner, KCC ensures there is adequate storage capacity for bodies and that the Coroner has access to post mortem facilities.  KCC does not have its own public mortuary facility and so, like many other coroner areas across England and Wales, it has always used local NHS hospitals which have the necessary facilities for this purpose, as there are no private sector providers of post mortem facilities anywhere in England and Wales.

Currently, post mortems for the North East Kent and Central & South East Kent coroner areas are carried out by East Kent NHS Trust at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford and QEQM Hospital, Margate.  The contract expires on 30 September 2017 and a new four year contract is proposed for the period 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2021.


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Ashford Central; Ashford East; Ashford Rural East; Ashford Rural South; Ashford Rural West; Ashford South; Birchington & Rural; Broadstairs; Canterbury City North; Canterbury City South; Canterbury North; Canterbury South; Cheriton Sandgate & Hythe East; Cliftonville; Deal & Walmer; Dover North; Dover Town; Dover West; Elham Valley; Folkestone East; Folkestone West; Herne Bay East; Herne Village & Sturry; Hythe West; Margate; Ramsgate; Romney Marsh; Sandwich; Swale East; Tenterden; Whitstable East & Herne Bay West; Whitstable West;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 12/09/2017

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - View reasons

Explanation of anticipated restriction:
supporting material will include some commercially-sensitive information

Decision due: Not before 11th Oct 2017 by Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services
Reason: in order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Lead director: Katie Stewart

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Giles Adey, Head of Registration & Coroners 07740 186032 Email: Tel: 01622 221003.


Consultation has been undertaken with:

·   Legal Services

·   Strategic Sourcing and Procurement

·   Head of Coroner Service

·   Elected County Councillors representing the following divisions:


Ashford - All

Canterbury – All

Dover – All

Shepway – All

Thanet – All


Swale East




The proposed decision was considered and endorsed by the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 21 September 2017.

Financial implications: The financial terms of the proposed contract will be described in the report to the Cabinet Committee. The budgets affected are within the revenue allocations for the Coroner’s Service.


Agenda items