Portsmouth City Council to consider merging Portsmouth and Isle of Wight coroner services

It’s not the recommended option, but up for consideration by Portsmouth City Council next week is the merger of theirs and Isle of Wight Coroner Services.

Spinnaker tower portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet will next week (9th July) be considering moves to provide a more ‘streamlined’ coroner service.

Councillors are being recommended to approve a plan to merge coroner services across Hampshire, but also on the table is a merger with the Isle of Wight.

The Hampshire merger would save the city council £25,000 per annum through the closure of the Basingstoke office and more streamlined services. Meanwhile a merger with the Isle of Wight’s coroner services would save £15,000 per annum.

Highlights of changes
Both merger options will:

  • Positively review the needs of the bereaved ensuring they are prioritised and met through the service operating under unified processes and procedures.  
  • Not impact on current service delivery  
  • Provide better resilience and allow the coronial service to better deal with fluctuations in demand,  
  • Ensure retained local justice  
  • Provide a consistent and streamlined service to meet the needs of bereaved families without adversely impacting on quality  
  • Accord with national policy and guidance in the context of a move towards larger coronial areas.  Streamline existing processes for all partners, ensuring consistent delivery within the County and Hampshire Police service.  
  • Ensure the consistent and best use of the existing Coroner software (WPC). 
  • Improve outcomes including inquest timeliness.  Provide staffing continuity across service area (managing sickness/caseload managed via WPC elsewhere within the area).  
  • Increase available support should mass fatality occur, there will be more staff in the area to cope as well as an increase in shared resources (hospitals/pathologists etc.)  
  • Make better and consistent technology at inquest

Merging with IW Coroner
The report for next Tuesday’s Portsmouth CC cabinet meeting (item 7) reads:

Option 2: Portsmouth City Council and the Isle of Wight Coroner Service

Merger incorporating the following coronial areas:

The City of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

In this model HCC take back responsibility for the SE Hants area so, based upon 2018 levels of demand for the service, the merged area would deal with approximately 2,500 deaths per annum.

The financial impact of the proposed revised structure of one Senior Coroner and a part time Area Coroner together with savings from economies of scale and improved buying power indicate a potential saving to PCC of approximately £15,000.

PCC would also seek to review the existing charging mechanism for deaths in QAH with HCC.

For Peter Baulf, city solicitor for Portsmouth City Council, the priority was still the families involved. He said:

“Both the proposed options for merging coroner services ensure the needs of bereaved families remain a priority and provide better accessibility to a more streamlined service.

Source: BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme

Image: © Used with the kind permission of Brian O’Rourke

Friday, 5th July, 2019 8:16am


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Law & Order, LDRS, Top story

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8 Comments on "Portsmouth City Council to consider merging Portsmouth and Isle of Wight coroner services"

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Alternative Perspective

One smells more than a whiff of politics here.

The IW Coroner has rattled a few cages over the last year, which won’t have pleased many people on high places. It would be a retrograde step to loose our excellent IW Coroner who is not afraid to stand up for the little people and demand answers from those with power.

Steve Goodman
A reminder of such answer still outstanding after nearly six years. At David Green’s inquest the Coroner said to the IW Council “I trust that there will be a full investigation and appropriate action taken against whoever has issued this information, either by way of a leak, in particular if it’s by way of a leak, or if the information was issued prematurely”. They failed to respond,… Read more »
Steve Goodman

(Corrected comment first line: A reminder of one such answer still outstanding after nearly six years.)


Stewart Blackmore

This brings up the question of Island residents having to go across the Solent to give evidence, rather than Newport, with the additional time, costs and inconvenience that this will inevitably cause.

Another chip away at the Island’s County status?


Here’s an idea – I give it free of charge. Just leave things as they are. An overall saving of £15k is one that could easily be found by cutting the consultants fees who came up with this wheeze or better still the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office/expenses.

Billy Builder

Whilst I’m sure that there is a financial gain to be had merging services, unfortunately as ever this will lead to yet more jobs being exported overseas, with less career prospects on the Island, we are becoming a dormitory island with no job prospects for our children. In time the Isle of Wight will just be a place where you come to die.


I wonder if this has been raised with the IW Council or coroners office or just a further attempt by PCC to utilise the IW as a means of revenue for themselves.
They are already seriously proposing a ‘clean air’ levy on all older cars travelling to or from the ferries because the have to pass through Portsmouth.

Eagle eye
For those islanders who haven’t cottoned on yet, this removal of services from the island and the building of houses that islanders cannot afford, this is all part of the bigger plan to become Hampshire. There will be no Isle of Wight except in name only. Bob Seely’s manifesto upon which he was elected was, I believe, one big con. He said he would fight to prevent… Read more »