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New Coroner  to oversee  big changes
WA's new State Coroner Ros Fogliani. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Barrister and former senior Commonwealth prosecutor Ros Fogliani is the new State Coroner, taking over just as the court embarks on a three-year overhaul to reduce waiting times and become more efficient.

Ms Fogliani said closure for grieving families seeking answers and making recommendations to help prevent deaths were vital aspects of her new job.

She said addressing the backlog of inquests, a persistent challenge in recent years, would be a priority after consulting other WA coroners and staff.

Ms Fogliani was with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions from 1993 to 2011, progressing to deputy director and head of office before joining law firm Francis Burt Chambers.

Her appointment from next month will be announced today after two reviews which identified operational problems within the office and recommended widespread changes were tabled in Parliament last week. "The system works, though only just and is in need of an overhaul," one review said.

"The ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the system and use of resources is at the heart of the issue."

The reviews revealed problems such as senior staff standing at photocopiers for hours and undertaking administrative work which support staff could handle.

"Throwing more resources at the problem will not resolve the issues identified and may serve to exacerbate the problems," one of the reviews said.

The office's backlog of administrative findings has significantly reduced, from 916 in December 2011 to 461 at the end of last month, after extra resources were allocated to the jurisdiction.

Attorney-General Michael Mischin revealed a three-year plan to make changes in response to the reports.

The changes include an upgrade of technology and records systems and improving counselling services in regional areas.