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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-03944
Asked by: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 22 October 2021


To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6T-00179 by Keith Brown on 21 September 2021 and, specifically, the assertion that “where recommendations are made, the priority is to ensure that they are acted upon”, and based on the understanding that there is no national oversight mechanism or statutory mandate for the implementation of fatal accident inquiry recommendations, whether it will clarify (a) whose priority it is to ensure that fatal accident inquiry recommendations are acted upon and (b) how it ensures that fatal accident inquiry recommendations are acted upon.

Current status: Answered by Keith Brown on 16 November 2021


The Inquiries into Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Act 2016 places a duty on a person to whom a sheriff’s recommendation is addressed to provide a response to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service within the period of 8 weeks after the respondent receives a copy of the determination.

The respondent must give the SCTS a response in writing either :

  • setting out details of what the respondent has done or proposes to do in response to the recommendation, or
  • if the respondent has not done, and does not intend to do, anything in response to the recommendation, the reasons for that.

The 2016 Act also place a duty on SCTS to publish responses to the recommendations set out in the determination.

Where a response is given the SCTS must

  • publish the response in full,
  • publish the response in part, together with a notice explaining that part of the response has been withheld from publication, or
  • publish a notice explaining that the whole of the response is being withheld from publication.

The SCTS may withhold the whole of a response from publication only if representations are made to that effect. If no response is given by the end of the 8 week period the SCTS must publish notice of that fact.

Implementation of FAI recommendations are monitored by the annual statistics. The Scottish Parliament receives a copy of the report annually. All responses to recommendations are published and are in the public domain which includes respondents saying what has been done and if the answer is nothing, then explaining why.

The Scottish Government expects all public bodies to respond appropriately to the recommendations of a Fatal Accident Inquiry.