International Cremation & Burial Conference & Exhibition 2015

Monday 6th, Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th July 2015 – Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon

Papers & Speakers

Scottish Death Certification and Scrutiny of Deaths
by Dr George Fernie, LLB MB ChB MPhil FFFLM FRCGP FRCP (Edin) FRCP DFM, Senior Medical Reviewer, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Dr Fernie will speak about reforms in the scrutiny of medical certificates of cause of death in Scotland subsequent to the review conducted by Sheriff Robert Brodie.

George is Senior Medical Reviewer based at Healthcare Improvement Scotland where his main function is to lead the Death Certification Reviewer Service for the new system of scrutiny that was implemented in May 2015. He has a long-term commitment in improving quality in the NHS including completion of MCCDs and forensic healthcare where he has spoken in the UK and internationally on standards in this respect.
Islamic Gardens of Peace
by Mohamed Omer, Board Member – External Affairs, Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery

Mohamed will talk about Muslim religious requirements on burials and deaths implemented in practice at Gardens of Peace.

Mohamed is a Finance Director for Intellicomms Solutions Ltd, a software solutions company. He is also a Director of Global Energy and Commodities Trading Ltd providing consultancy for emerging markets.

He is currently involved with various charities and is the Board Member responsible for External Affairs at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery based in Hainault Essex. This is the largest dedicated Muslim Cemetery in Europe and has a capacity for 10,000 graves and burials in accordance with Islamic Shariah.

He is a trustee of The Social Enterprise Loan Fund, an organisation funding social enterprises that are not able to obtain funding from banks. He is also a Muslim representative on the Burial, Cremation and Advisory Group at the Ministry of Justice. Mohamed has been actively involved with community work in East London for the last 15 years. He became a trustee of Sands in November 2012.

Disposal of Pregnancy Remains
by Caroline Browne, Head of Regulation, Human Tissue Authority

Following a Dispatches programme aired on Channel 4 in March 2013, which brought to public attention the disposal practices of some NHS hospitals, the HTA was asked by the Chief Medical Officer to develop new national guidance on the disposal of foetal remains. As well as setting out the key points of the guidance, Caroline’s presentation describes some of the challenges that were faced during its development and the thinking behind the approach adopted by the HTA.

As Head of Regulation at the HTA, Caroline is responsible for regulation of the post mortem sector. She leads on post mortem sector strategy and policy development, ensuring that the HTA’s regulatory approach achieves regulatory compliance and service improvements. Caroline is also responsible for the development of HTA’s guidance in relation to the PM sector, including its code of practice and licensing standards, ensuring that the advice and guidance provided to the sector is targeted and responsive to the needs of stakeholders.
Supporting bereaved children and their families
by Corinne Mason and Sally Napier, ACII, Winston’s Wish – The Charity for Bereaved Children

The death of a parent, brother or sister is one of the most fundamental losses a child will ever face. However, we know that with the right support, children and young people can be helped to understand what has happened and can begin to heal and live with their loss. Find out how Winston’s Wish can enable those working in bereavement services to better support families with bereaved children.

Winston’s Wish is the UK’s leading child bereavement charity, supporting children, young people and their families after the death of a parent or sibling. Corinne works in the In Memory Team, building links with other bereavement services and organisations, as well as supporting individuals who wish to donate in a loved one’s name.

Sally has been a beneficiary and is now a volunteer at Winston’s Wish.

Wills & Inheritance: The Recent Changes to the Law of Intestacy
by Daniel Curran, Managing Director, Finders International Genealogists

Since the last CBCE event, the biggest overhaul of laws governing what happens to someone’s money and estate when they die has come into force. This talk will give delegates an overview of what the changes are and how they may affect them in their work.

The presentation will include:

  • An introduction to Finders
  • A definition of intestacy
  • Why the intestacy laws have been changed
  • An overview of the major changes to the intestacy laws, including:
    • Co-habitation
    • Marriage & Civil Partnerships without children
    • Marriage & Civil Partnerships with children
    • Adopted children
    • The definition of property or “chattels”
  • Q&A

The presentation will be interactive, and engaging with audience participation.  It will include live video footage from BBC Heir Hunters and examples of case studies will be included throughout to give practical, real-life examples.

Daniel Curran formed Finders International Genealogists in 1997.  Based in London, but working all over the world, the company has just celebrated its 18th birthday and opened two new offices in Dublin and Edinburgh.

Daniel is a well-known expert in his field.  He has written for well-known legal journals and he is regularly interviewed on TV and radio programmes, including The Money Programme, Radio 4 and many more. You may also recognise him from 'Heir Hunters', the popular BBC 1 documentary series of the same name, which follows the Finders team in their day-to-day work locating next of kin.

Daniel is a key figure in his field and he has worked hard to raise industry standards for many years in an unregulated industry.  Finders are the only genealogists to have their own Professional Conduct Code and Daniel has strived to achieve ISO Certification, FCA authorisation and other accreditations so as to provide confidence to customers who include councils, crematoria, coroners, solicitors and hospitals.

Having started Finders as a sole trader and grown Finders to a team of over 50 (and growing), Daniel has used his entrepreneurial skills to also establish a school in London which is based on Scandinavian Learning Principles, which two of his four children attend.

Horizon 20/20: Cremation as Cultural Heritage
by Professor Douglas Davies, BA (Anthropology), BA (Theology), Ph.D., MLitt, DLitt, Hon Dr Theol, FLSW, FAcSS, Director of The Centre for Death and Life Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

This paper describes a major application currently being made to the EU and its Horizon 20/20 Research programme. Its goal is to argue that modern cremation is one major form of new cultural heritage to have emerged in Europe from the late nineteenth century, growing throughout the twentieth century, and currently occupying a significant position in many European countries. The paper will describe the numerous countries involved in the project and the topics of research. It will show the importance of the numerous Cremation Societies and Associations that have, for over a century, led the way for this new heritage of cremation. It will seek to describe just what a ‘cultural heritage’ might be, and argue that Cremation parallels traditional burial and cemetery memorials, but that perhaps the full significance of cremation is not always recognised by cultural authorities at large. Another aspect of the paper will ask if cremation offers its own index of secularization, or at least of social change. It will highlight the importance of changes in social ritual and of architectural forms in the wider process of cultural transformations in European societies.

Douglas Davies trained in Anthropology and Theology, teaching at Nottingham University before becoming Professor in the Study of Religion and Director of The Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University. He has published many books on traditional and natural burial, on cremation, and on the theology of death. He edited the Encyclopedia of Cremation in 2005. He is also internationally known as an expert on Mormonism. A Doctor of Letters of Oxford University, an Honorary Doctor of Theology from Sweden's Uppsala University, he is also a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

Ministry of Justice Update
by Judith Bernstein, MA (Oxon), LLM, Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team, Ministry of Justice

Judith will provide an update from the Ministry of Justice on coroner, burial and cremation matters.

Judith Bernstein has an MA in Modern History from St Anne’s College Oxford and an LLM from University College London. She qualified as a solicitor in 1981.

Judith started her Civil Service career advising the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners before transferring to an administrative position at the Judicial Studies Board, and then to a policy role in administrative justice. In her current role, Judith provides advice to Ministers, coroners, burial and cremation stakeholders and others on the law and policy relating to coroners, cremations, burials as well as dealing with the day-to-day handling of policy and casework, correspondence from MPs, coroners and the general public

Solving a Burial Space Problem in Five Days
by Mark Street, BSc (Hons), MCIEH, Environmental Services Group Manager, Stafford Borough Council

This presentation demonstrates how an innovative grave shoring system helped a family carry out the last wishes of their loved one.

Mark qualified as an Environmental Health Officer in 1980 from Aston University and worked as an EHO for Stoke on Trent City Council. In 1988 he was appointed Principal EHO at Stafford Borough Council. In 2008 waste management was added to his responsibilities and bereavement services followed in 2012. He now manages 3 services at Stafford BC, waste and recycling, bereavement services and a shared pest control service for Stafford BC and South Staffordshire Council.
TEAM – Everyone Together Achieves More
by Mark Woollard, Immediate Past President, National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors

Mark will give his perspective on the working relationship between funeral director and crematoria and cemeteries.

Mark has been a funeral director for 24 years, working in London for 10 and running his own business in Whitstable, Kent for 14 years. He obtained his diploma in funeral directing in 1999. He is the Immediate Past President of SAIF, and has served as a Quality Assurance Assessor, a member of the National Executive Committee and a Governor and Trainer for the Independent Funeral Directors College.
Controlling the Risks of Infection at Work from Human Remains
by John Newbold, Principal Specialist Inspector, Biological Agents Unit, Health and Safety Executive

This presentation will explain the work HSE has been undertaking to review the guidance on Controlling the risks of infection at work from human remains and progress with that review. HSE will outline the main changes of the guidance and the new framework, specifically focusing on the ways in which the risks of infection can be controlled in the burial and cremation setting.

John has worked for the Health and Safety Executive for 24 years and is a Principal Specialist Inspector in HSE’s Biological Agents Unit. He has a background in microbiology and an interest in health and safety, so his position as HSE’s Infectious Diseases Portfolio Holder provides a job which combines the two, using his microbiological expertise to advise on managing the risks of infection at work.
R.I.P. – the grave may not be the end
Peter Mitchell, F.Inst.ICCM(Dip), Peter Mitchell Associates

Peter will illustrate attitudes towards the body once buried and towards removing the body, whether soon after burial or many years later. He will also examine the circumstances under which buried bodies might be removed from their original ‘resting place’.

Peter Mitchell is an independent consultant specialising in all matters relating to burial, cremation and exhumation. Peter’s work includes all aspects of the management of existing cemeteries and crematoria, assessing the need for new developments, undertaking feasibility studies, ground investigations and site surveys. Peter has project managed the exhumation of over 30,000 burials in a wide range of circumstances and scale.

Peter’s clients include local authorities, churches, archaeologists, architects, private individuals, construction companies, property developers, police forces and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Safe and Dignified Disposal of Mass Fatalities in Public Health Emergencies – A Public Health Perspective
by Dr Aileen Kitching, MB BCh BAO, MPH, MFPH, MRCPI, MRCPG, DHA, DTM&H, DCh, EPIET Alumna, Specialist in Public Health Medicine/Medical Epidemiologist, Public Health England Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance & Control

This presentation will outline some of the practices and challenges in relation to safe and dignified disposal of mass fatalities in two recent Public Health Emergencies – an outbreak (Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2014-2015) and a natural disaster (the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, 2014) - based on Aileen’s experience in the field in both emergencies.

It will highlight some of the work done at Public Health England (Colindale) in relation to guidance on safe handling of potentially infected remains in England, and specifically the development of guidance for the funeral industry and coroner’s offices on handling the remains of Ebola-infected people and their possessions. ‘Safe and dignified burials’ were a pillar of the Ebola response in Sierra Leone, and Aileen will outline some of the special measures which had to be applied there and the challenges faced by burial teams on the ground.

Post-Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, special measures for safe disposal of mass fatalities were also implemented, including some new approaches, such as the use of search dogs for cadaver retrievals, and approaches to try and link families of missing persons with the remains of loved ones. Aileen will outline these and how they were incorporated into the overall public health response.

Dr Aileen Kitching is a specialist in public health medicine and epidemiology, with a main interest in, and experience of, health protection and communicable disease control. Since 2012, she has worked at PHE Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance & Control (Colindale), from where she was seconded to the WHO in 2014 (Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines) and 2015 (Ebola, Sierra Leone). As a member of PHE’s Ebola response team Sept-Dec 2014, she led the development of PHE Ebola guidance for the funeral industry.
Death Before Birth Project: Disposal of Remains of Pregnancy in English Law
by Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, PhD, MA, LLB, BA, Birmingham Fellow, Centre for Health Law, Science & Policy, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham

‘Death before Birth: Understanding, informing and supporting choices made by people who have experienced miscarriage, termination and stillbirth’. Sheelagh along with colleagues at the University of Birmingham is currently involved in research on disposal of remains of pregnancy and the impact of law on experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and elective termination following a diagnosis of foetal anomaly. Her presentation will discuss aspects of the proposed research and also touch on the guidance, recently published by the Human Tissue Authority, on Disposal of Remains of Pregnancy.

Sheelagh is an academic lawyer with research interests at the intersections of ethics, law and policy. Her particular research focus has been on the regulation of reproduction and how law shapes reproductive experience. She has also published on the law regarding dead bodies and the status of embryonic material. Sheelagh sits on the Independent Ethics & Governance Council of UK Biobank and the Medical Ethics Committee of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

This presentation will draw on Bishop Geoffrey Rowell’s experience both as the Church of England Bishop in Europe from 2001 until 2013, as well as personal travel more widely. It will include reflections on burial customs – including those of the Toraja people in Sulawesi, Indonseia – as well as patriarchal funerals in the Orthodox church. It will make some points about the development of funeral liturgy.

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell was Church of England Bishop in Europe from 2001-2013 and before that Bishop of Basingstoke from 1994-2001. His doctoral research in Cambridge was on Death and the Future Life in the religious thought of 19th century England, and he has also published a short history of Christian funeral rites. He was a College Chaplain and Theology lecturer in Oxford from 1968 until 1994, and served for a number of years as Chair of the Churches Funerals Group.
Not quite Dumas – fifteen years on
by Dr Stephen Leadbeatter, MB, ChB, FRCPath, DMJ(Path), Director of the Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine, Cardiff University

Stephen will present a personal view of current and proposed legislation pertinent to the doctor, the dead and the bereaved.

Dr Leadbeatter trained in forensic pathology under Professor Bernard Knight, and has been a Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Forensic Pathology for Cardiff University School of Medicine and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board since 1991.  Following Professor Knight's retirement in 1996, Dr Leadbeatter became Director of the Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine.

He was a member of the Home Office Policy Advisory Board for Forensic Pathology (PABFoP) between 1997 and 2004; he has been a member of the Registration and Training Committee of the Pathology Delivery Board since 2005; he was Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists Forensic Pathology Sub-committee from 1998 to 2000, and is an examiner in forensic pathology.

He is author of occasional papers on coroners, detective fiction, and the pathology of injury; a man of no real qualities.