Assistant Coroners are needed to support the Senior Coroner across the full range of coroner duties for the people of North Yorkshire and York.

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Role: Assistant Coroner for North Yorkshire (east), North Yorkshire (west) and York - two posts.
Salary: Fee paid post, in the region of £431.50 per day.
Hours: Relief role - hours necessary to meet the requirements of the post.
Location: Based in Northallerton but working across North Yorkshire and York.

Are you an excellent communicator with the interpersonal skills necessary to deal with sensitive situations?

North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York are seeking to appoint new Assistant Coroners to support the Senior Coroner across the full range of coroner duties in order to deliver a high quality coroner service to the people of North Yorkshire and York.

North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York are looking for exceptional candidates with excellent proven organisational, management and efficiency skills, as well as experience of managing and embracing change. You will work closely with the Senior Coroner to ensure value for money, performance and financial efficiencies. 

You will be required to demonstrate knowledge and experience of coroner law and of basic medicine, have proven skills in conducting investigations and an understanding of court procedure. You will also need to demonstrate the excellent communication and interpersonal skills necessary to deal with sensitive situations.  

The successful candidate(s) will be required to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a coroner as defined in the Coroners, Justice Act 2009, associated rules and regulations and as further described in guidance issued by the Chief Coroner.

This is a fee paid position although it is likely to involve a regular commitment, which is to be agreed between you, the senior coroner and the local authority. Ideally you will be available for up to four days per week.  See the information pack for further details (pdf / 446 KB).

It is a Coroner’s personal responsibility (and not that of his / her clerk / secretary) to ensure that they sit when possible. The Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor would expect an assistant coroner to offer a minimum of 15 sitting days each financial year. However, it is recognised that there is a variance of workload in each area.

The successful candidate(s) will be a barrister or a solicitor or Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a five-year basis. They will be under the age of 70 and be subject to the appointment and eligibility conditions within the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (s.23 and Schedule 3).

Once a Coroner is appointed they are then a Judicial Office holder until they reach the age of 70 years (compulsory retirement age) unless they choose to resign or are removed by the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor prior to their 70th birthday. 

The Assistant Coroner will be based in Northallerton.

The North Yorkshire and York coroner area

The North Yorkshire and York coroner area covers 8,759 square miles, with a current population of around 813,100. Much of the county is classed as very rural with a low population density. The county has an above average age profile with 23.7 per cent of the population being 65 years of age or over (the English average is 17.9 per cent).

North Yorkshire and York form the largest geographical local authority area in England and Wales. From the Coroner’s office in Northallerton, it stretches 50 miles to the east, 55 miles to the south and 55 miles to the west. The population centres are York, Harrogate and Scarborough and then the 28 market towns throughout the county of North Yorkshire.

The economy is primarily agricultural and tourism / hospitality (particularly in York). York University provides the city with a vibrant student population.  

North Yorkshire is also host to what will be one of the largest military garrisons in Europe at Catterick Garrison.

The coroner area contains sections of the M1 motorway as well as several major A-roads, main rail lines to / from London. There is one prison, a female open prison. There are regular reports of treasure.

Transport links north / south are excellent but can be constraining east / west. Bordering counties are Lancashire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Durham, Cumbria and Teesside.

The tourism economy, garrison and transport links do mean many bereaved families are from outside the area.

The number of deaths registered annually is around 8,200 with approximately 2,100 cases (26 per cent) referred to the Senior Coroner. Post-mortem examinations are conducted at four main hospital trusts by hospital pathologists. In 2019, 387 inquests (19 per cent) and 1,170 post-mortem examinations (58 per cent) were held. The Senior Coroner is expected to aim to keep post-mortem levels to 30 per cent of reported deaths or below.

There are three acute hospitals within the area, in Harrogate, York and Scarborough well as several community hospitals.

Amalgamation

A business case will be submitted in 2021 to the Ministry of Justice and the Chief Coroner to request the amalgamation of the existing three areas of North Yorkshire (east), North Yorkshire (west) and the City of York. This proposal will be subject to consultation and agreement. The aim will be to implement the merger in 2021.

The successful candidate(s) will initially be appointed as an Assistant Coroner for the North Yorkshire (east), North Yorkshire (west) and City of York coroner areas. Following the anticipated merger of the three coroner areas, the successful candidate(s) would then be appointed as an Assistant Coroner to the newly merged area. This will be subject to the consent of the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor.

The merger will also involve a review of the Assistant Coroner workload, with the possibility of appointing an Area Coroner. This appointment will not be until after the merger. Until that time there is a need for cover and assistance for the Senior Coroner throughout the week.

Office and court accommodation

The service is located in dedicated accommodation in Northallerton. The service is not co-located with the Registration Service that has nine offices across the North Yorkshire and York areas. Inquests take place in York, Selby, Harrogate, Skipton, Scarborough and Northallerton. However, it is intended to develop a dedicated courtroom in Northallerton in 2021. The office accommodation will also move to be co-located with the courtroom and with Northallerton registration office.

Staff

Eight coroners’ officers are employed by North Yorkshire Police across the county and City of York. The coroners’ officers are located in police stations in the major centres of population.

There are three administrative staff employed by North Yorkshire County Council, co-located with the Senior Coroner.

The services use WPC as a case database and management system. You will be expected to use this system to carry out your duties as Assistant Coroner.

Management

Accommodation, contracts, tendering, finance and support staff are managed by the coroner service manager, who is employed by North Yorkshire County Council in the Central Services Department.

The coroner service manager works closely with the Senior Coroner and North Yorkshire Police on the delivery of the service to ensure those affected by the work of the Senior Coroner receive a high quality service.

Daily operations

As these are fee paid positions the Assistant Coroner will work on days and times as agreed with the Senior Coroner. You will be expected to attend the office.

The administrative support staff are responsible for answering incoming calls from the public on weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.

Applications

Suitably qualified applicants are required to submit their CV, supporting statement (of up to two sides of A4, no smaller then font size 11) and their signed declaration to johnathon.reardon@northyorks.gov.uk no later than midnight on 31 March 2021. 

It is important that your supporting statement fully addresses the assessment criteria in the  Assistant Coroner information pack (pdf / 446 KB).

In particular please demonstrate how you meet the following criteria: 

  1. Assimilating and clarifying information 
  2. Managing work efficiently
  3. Working with others
  4. Communicating effectively 
  5. Exercising judgement 
  6. Possessing and building knowledge

If you do not complete a full supporting statement, your application will be rejected. Please ensure you include your work, home and mobile contact numbers, home address and email addresses where applicable. Please note that correspondence will be via email unless otherwise stated. All correspondence and details provided will remain confidential.

Employment references

Please include the name, address and contact details for two references. Candidates should also state their relationship to the referee and at least one should be your current / most recent employer / head of chambers / relevant authority. References will be taken up for shortlisted candidates.

Evidence of qualifications

Candidates will be required to bring evidence of their qualifications to the interview.

Employment checks

The successful candidate may be required to undergo the Council's pre-appointment medical screening.

Disciplinary proceedings and criminal convictions check

Due to the nature of the post, it is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore any conviction, whether spent or unspent, must be declared. Applicants invited to interview will be required to complete a declaration form. The successful candidate will be required to undergo a DBS check.

Applicants must specify in their application if they are subject of any complaint or disciplinary proceedings by any professional body to which they belong and clearly the outcome.

The candidate should declare any other matters, which they believe, should be brought to the attention of the local authority, particularly bearing in mind the basic set of guiding principles in the Guide to Judicial Conduct.

Eligibility to work in the UK

Candidates must be eligible to work in the UK. The successful candidate will be required to provide original evidence of their eligibility to work in the UK.

Interview

You may be required to undertake a short presentation as part of the interview process. 

Chief Coroner’s role in the process

No appointment may be made unless the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor consent to it.

Local authorities appoint coroners but do not employ them. Once appointed a Coroner becomes and remains an independent judicial officer holder.

Recruitment timetable

  • Closing date: 31 March 2021
  • Invitation to interviews: No later than 23 April 2021
  • Interview date: 5 May 2021

If you do not hear from us by 26 April 2021, please assume you have not been shortlisted.

Key documents

Interview panel

The interview panel will be:

  • Jon Heath - Senior Coroner
  • Robin Mair - General Manager - Registration Archives and Coroners, North Yorkshire County Council
  • Jane Milthorp - Practice Manager, City of York
  • Chief Coroner or nominee - observing 

We are aiming for the successful candidate to take up post as soon as possible.

Apply

We are seeking to appoint a new senior coroner for North Yorkshire (east and west) and York.

Key dates

Closing date: 31 March 2021
Interview date: 5 May 2021

Contact us

If you wish to have an informal discussion or arrange a visit, please contact Mr Jon Heath, Senior Coroner on 01609 533805.

Apply for this role

Suitably qualified applicants are requested to email their CV, supporting statement and their signed declaration to johnathon.reardon@northyorks.gov.uk no later than midnight on 31 March 2021.

It is important that your supporting statement fully addresses the assessment criteria in the  Assistant Coroner information pack (pdf / 446 KB), otherwise your application will be rejected.


Notification

The vacancy for this post has been notified to the Chief Coroner and Lord Chancellor (as required by statute).