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Agenda item

Fees and Charges 2018/19

Joint Report of the Corporate Director of Resources / Treasurer to the Joint Committee and the Corporate Director of Regeneration and Local Services.

 

Minutes:

The Joint Committee considered a joint report of the Corporate Director Regeneration and Local Services and Corporate Director Resources and Treasurer to the Joint Committee which set out details of the proposed fees and charges for Durham Crematorium for 2018/19 (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Principal Accountant advised that taking into account inflationary and cost pressures, particularly the redevelopment works that have been undertaken and the fact that there was no increase made in 2017/18, it was proposed that there was a £30 (4.6%) increase to the current cremation fees and charges for 2018/19. All other fees and charges were proposed to remain at the same levels as 2017/18.

 

Members were reminded that following Local Government Review in 2009 the fees and charges at the Central Durham Crematorium were harmonised with the charges at Mountsett Crematorium and that the cremation fees and charges were not increased in 2017/18 in recognition of the major works that were being undertaken at Mountsett Crematorium in the current year, reciprocating the position while cremator replacement works had taken place at Durham Crematorium.

 

A full schedule of the proposed fees and charges for Durham Crematorium was shown in Appendix 2 of the report, alongside benchmarking comparison data shown in Appendix 3.

 

Councillor K Thompson noted the report set out 2,200 cremations as a prudent figure and asked if this took into account the potential loss of cremations from the east of the county to a new facility.  The Chairman noted she suspected the new facility at Castle Eden would have more of an effect in terms of the Hartlepool area.  The Principal Accountant noted that there would be a lot of factors and that this would be looked at before the 2019/20 budget.

 

Councillor M McKeon noted that she felt it was very good that Durham continued its position in terms of no fee for child cremations.

 

Town Councillor I Machin asked whether it was possible to establish a “market share” against local facilities and nationally.  The Bereavement Services Manager noted that this was possible against other Local Authority facilities, though not for private facilities.  Town Councillor I Machin noted that new technology could mean cheaper prices, the Bereavement Services Manager noted cheaper did not mean a better quality.  Councillor J Chaplow noted the quality service offered at Durham. 

Councillor P Jopling noted the point raised as regards new technology and added that businesses needed to make their offer different from others and also understand what people were willing to pay for.  The Chairman noted that the facility at Coundon had provision for bariatric cremations.  Councillor J Chaplow noted an additional offer could be something like a coffee machine.  The Bereavement Services Manager noted there was now a coffee machine in the waiting room.  Councillor S Quinn noted there would always be competition, however, she felt the quality of the offer at Durham spoke for itself.  

 

Resolved:

 

(i)           That Members of the Joint Committee note and approve the proposed fees and charges at Appendix 2 effective from 1 April 2018, which seeks to increase the cremation by £30 (4.6%) per crematorium from £650 to £680.

(ii)          The proposed fees and charges are incorporated into the 2018/19 budget.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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