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Agenda item

Quarterly Performance and Operational Report

Report of the Bereavement Services Manager.


The Bereavement Services Manager asked Members to note the performance figures from January 2018 to March 2018 and the comparison to the same period for 2017, highlighting that there was a net decrease of 5 cremations.  It was noted there was a total of 671 for the three month period with the January to March 2018 profile breakdown showing 213 from Durham, 35 from Spennymoor and 423 from outside of the area.


Councillors were asked to note that the figure for the total number of cremations to 31 March 2018 was 2,294, compared to a prudent budget assumption of 2,200 cremations, representing an over-achievement in cremation fee income of £50,579.  Members noted comparative figures for the previous eight financial years, noting an eight year average of 2,280 cremations.   


The Bereavement Services Manager asked Members to note the number of memorials sold in comparison to the same period the previous year, a decrease of £2,325 in value terms.


The Joint Committee noted that a member of staff had applied for flexible working, which meant that they would reduce their hours by one day a week.  It was added that another member of staff had also applied to reduce their hours by one day a week.  The Bereavement Services Manager noted that it was therefore proposed that the Joint Committee consider covering the shortfall by creating either a 2 day a week part-time position or an apprentice post, with both options being able to be funded from existing budgets.


Councillors were asked to recall the 2018/19 Fees and Charges being approved at the last meeting of the Joint Committee, with an item being raised in terms of the £9.00 charge for Non-Viable Foetus (NVF), whereas children up to 16 years of age were free.  It was added that this had historically been as cremations were organised via hospitals, though it was noted now this was via funeral directors.  Members noted the low income generated from the NVF cremations and that it was proposed that the cost was amended to a nil cost with immediate effect.


The Bereavement Services Manager explained the necessary arrangements would be made as regards representation at the Joint Conference of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Cremation Society of Great Britain, to be held at the Hilton Newcastle/Gateshead from Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 June 2018.


The Bereavement Services Manager informed Members that the Recycling of Metals Scheme had generated a sum of £5,000 for Marie Curie and that arrangements had been made in respect of the cheque being presented to the charity.  Members were reminded that at the last Committee it was noted that the current list of charity nominations was reaching its end and Members were asked to agree the list of charities and for any additional charities they wished to be included, noting that they needed to be bereavement related.


Councillor J Shuttleworth noted he felt it would be preferable to have an apprentice and that full-time was preferable to part-time, Members agreed.


Town Councillor I Machin asked if there would be feedback from the Annual Conference in June.  The Bereavement Services Manager confirmed this would be provided by him at the next meeting and asked for any nominations for additional charities.  Councillor J Shuttleworth noted he felt the Great North Air Ambulance would be a worthy charity, Members agreed.





(i)           That the current performance of the Crematorium be noted.

(ii)          That an apprentice position be created to backfill the two posts.

(iii)         That the change in NVF cremation charge from £9 to nil be agreed.

(iv)         That the attendance at the Burial and Cremation Conference be noted.

(v)          That the distribution of recycling income to the respective charity be noted and nomination of the Great North Air Ambulance be agreed.



Councillor S Quinn entered the meeting at 2.10pm




Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714