Bereavement Services - burial and cremation

Headstone inspection programme

We are currently inspecting all the headstones in our 55 cemeteries as part of our duties to ensure each site is a safe environment for both visitors and staff.

Please note - although we have a duty of care to provide this safe environment the headstone itself is owned and is therefore the responsibility of the lair holder.

In line with other council’s across Scotland we are carrying out the following list of actions. An initial inspection will be carried out by a suitably trained officer. This involves looking for any movement of the memorial headstone and this is done by hand with one of the following actions taken:

  • If the headstone shows no movement then no action is taken other than to record that an inspection has taken place and that the headstone was found to be safe
  • If the headstone shows some movement although not sufficient to be of an immediate concern no physical action is taken. The lair holder is however contacted by letter and informed that although there is no immediate concern they should contact their memorial mason and ask them to carry out a formal inspection and carry out any minor repairs to stop any deterioration
  • If the headstone shows significant movement and is deemed unsafe the headstone is immediately secured by use of wooden posts and banding. We will then contact the lair holder requesting that they engage with their memorial mason and arrange a repair
  • Signage is also attached to the headstone advising the lair holder or a family member to contact Bereavement Services particularly if no notification has been received by us or if the lair holder is now interred in the lair and ownership has not been transferred

We will provide information to the lair holder where known within three days of the initial inspection and where the headstone has required to be secured. We do acknowledge that this gap may result in families attending the lair without full knowledge of the process and we would apologise in advance for any distress caused.

If we do not get a reply from the lair holder or family member we will revisit the headstone and trench it into the ground (digging a hole about a third of the size of the headstone). This “trenching in” method is carried out in front of the plinth or at the head of the lair to secure the headstone until such times as the lair holder makes contact.

It is our intention to inspect all headstones on a five-yearly basis as identified in the Health & Safety Executive’s Guidelines on Headstone Inspection.

Information will also be posted on the notice boards at the entrance to each cemetery when inspections are taking place. We are currently inspecting headstones in Larkhall Cemetery.

For more information please email bereavement.services@southlanarkshire.gov.uk or phone 0303 123 1016.