SLCC is saddened to hear that Her Majesty the Queen passed away on 8 September 2022.
The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history and her reign saw her travel more widely than any other monarch. On her twenty-first birthday, in a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth.
The Queen was a constant presence, carrying out her duties with grace and dedication providing unfaltering public service until her passing. Many of our members have had contact with the Queen, as reported in the January 2022 edition of The Clerk magazine, for example where she visited Higham Ferrers on more than one occasion.
The Queen visiting Higham Ferrers in 1965 and 1985, Higham Ferrers Town Council
Other members have also attended one of the Queen’s Garden Parties, where their positive impact in communities was recognised and their public service rewarded.
The Queen’s Garden Party 2016
Below are steps local councils can take as part of Operation London Bridge.
OPERATION LONDON BRIDGE
Following the death there will be an official announcement from Buckingham Palace after which a period of ten days state mourning will follow. D-Day being the date of the death and D+10 the date of the full state funeral, unless D+10 falls on a Sunday, then the funeral will be held on D+11 Monday.
DELAY MEETINGS AND NOTICES FOR MEETINGS
Local Government Act 1972, s 243 excludes days appointed for public mourning from the calculation of the three clear days’ notice of a council meeting, or anything that is required to be done.
None of the days of mourning should be used in calculating the three clear days; for this reason, the council may need to postpone a meeting, or giving notice for a meeting, until after the funeral has taken place.
DELAY MEMBERS TAKING OFFICE
If the four days between a council election and the day new members take office fall within the period of mourning the taking of office will be delayed until after the funeral.
REMEMBRANCE SERVICES CONTINUE
If Remembrance Sunday falls within the ten day period of mourning, remembrance services will continue as normal with added prayers etc.
RE-SCHEDULE/CANCEL OTHER EVENTS
If national beacon lighting and/or bell ringing are planned, these will have to be cancelled as they are a sign of celebration. Likewise, other activities; performances, galas, opening events, carol services, markets, lights switch-on etc will all need to be considered for rescheduling or cancellation.
Vertical flag pole: The Union Flag should be flown at half-mast throughout the period of mourning, except for D+1 and D+2 proclamation day when the new King is proclaimed (Operation Spring Tide).
Angle flag pole: The Union Flag should be flown at full-mast with a black cravat attached.
All flags/flag poles to return to normal by 9am the day after the funeral.
- Councils should prepare suitable words to put on the website from the mayor or chairman of the council.
- The home page should be overwritten with a black page carrying a portrait of the Queen and associated tables below to the council’s home page and other tabs required during the period of mourning, for instance a link to online books of condolence.
- Condolence Photographs / Web Site Usage: If you would like to use the official condolence image on your web site you may do so but only after the official announcement has been made by Buckingham Palace and you can only use it for this purpose and no other unless permission has been granted. To download the web version of these images, please go to this web address – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0mvqv66oihncwg8/AAD-xn8yDAptjfI2AdORHDrNa?dl=0. For more information please contact: Mike O’Keefe of Royal Images
Tel: 0845 634 5577 or Email: [email protected]
- Detail everything that will be happening during this period and events cancelled or postponed.
A condolence book should be made available for signing in the town hall/council office, and places of worship. Council may also like to take these to schools and care homes.
Loose leaf pages are recommended as any pages that are defaced or have unsuitable comments written on can be destroyed.
Following D+11, the folders can be collated and bound, and a letter sent to the private secretary at Buckingham Palace advising that a book of condolence is held in the council archive.
A suitable, framed photo of the Queen should be placed next to the book of condolence.
Portraits of the Queen hanging in council chambers/meeting rooms should have a black ribbon placed diagonally across one top corner. This should remain in place for one month, being the period of royal mourning.
After this time the portrait of the new King should be put in place, with an alternative position for the Queen’s portrait found.
The current trend following any notable death or tragic incident is flowers to be laid.
An area pre-designated for this purpose should be agreed in advance making sure it does not block access routes etc.
Make it clear that:
Flowers should be unwrapped and not left in cellophane
Flowers will be removed on the morning after the funeral and what you intend to do with them – ideally arrange for them to be composted.
The national proclamation will be read in London on D+1.
Then on D+2 in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.
County proclamations are normally read by the High Sheriffs on D+2.
Councils may have the proclamation read by the high sheriff (if available), a deputy lieutenant or the mayor/chair of the council.
Councils should check with the local lieutenancy office for the procedures they have in place and to arrange reading the proclamation locally. Flags should be flown at full mast for proclamation readings then returned to half-mast.
Church of England dioceses will be arranging full civic services in cathedrals and major churches on the mid-Sunday of the ten day mourning period with local parish churches encouraged to hold service on the eve of the state funeral.
Other religious establishments may also arrange services. Councils should contact local clergy/religious leaders to arrange attendance by mayor/chair.
If the Royal death is announced before noon on D Day, every church will toll one bell for each year of the Queen’s life – if the announcement is made after noon on D Day the Bell will be tolled on D=1 at noon.
Councils should contact the local clergy and bell tower captain to make the required arrangements.
On the day of death workers can be sent home early. The day of the state funeral will be a public holiday unless it falls on a Saturday.
Councils should be prepared to pay overtime to workers needed to carry out necessary actions as prescribed above.
Flood lights on public buildings should be fitted with a purple filter during the ten day period of public mourning or turned off.
When the Duke of Edinburgh passed away we had Covid-19 restrictions that prevented events taking place in public. If we are in a similar position at the time the Queen passes, councils will have to be aware of the restrictions in place at the time and act accordingly.
Public service and declarations may need to be cancelled or delivered online. It may not be possible to have a ‘hard copy’ of a condolence book however a link to an online book can be used – the council can set up their own or have a link to another. When the Duke of Edinburgh passed away Buckingham Palace set on up that was available for all.
Further documents to assist with Operation London Bridge are available at www.slcc.co.uk/advice_categories/civic-protocol including an:
- Advice note
- Action plan
- Suppliers list
The advice team is also on hand to assist members with any further queries:
0800 260 6814