The two local authorities concerned, North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council; and North Yorkshire Police, which provides the three current coroner areas with coroner’s investigating officers, are said to be supportive of the merger.
Jonathan Heath was appointed as senior coroner for all three coroner areas in September 2020 and will continue the role for the merged area alongside a part-time area coroner and assistant coroners.
The idea was first suggested in 2019 as the then Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC, held the “very clear view” that larger coronial areas are more effective, allowing a senior coroner to manage work effectively, giving support staff the opportunity to work as part of a wider team providing enhanced support, resilience and a consistent service for relatives.
Historically in North Yorkshire the coroner areas were divided into three: North Yorkshire East (Scarborough, Ryedale and Hambleton); North Yorkshire West (Richmondshire, Craven, Selby and Harrogate) and York. Each area had a part-time senior coroner, in different offices but all three part-time senior coroners retired leading to the appointment of Mr Heath.