CBCE 2019

In Principle

in association with:

The Cremation Society of Great Britain

The Cremation Society of Great Britain

The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities

The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities

Papers & Speakers

Monday 1st July

Crematorium Compliance Scheme – Improving and Developing the Federation’s Approach to its Inspection Process
by Kate Davidson, LLB (Hons), Lead Officer, Crematorium Compliance Working Group, The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities

Central to the FBCA’s purpose is supporting its members to fully adhere to the Code of Cremation Practice. First introduced in 1945, the Code of Cremation Practice is designed to support members in their operation and management of crematoria across the UK through an annual declaration. For many years now the Federation has carried out visits to member crematoria to ensure that the Code of Cremation Practice is being adhered to.

The Federation and its membership has faced and continues to face a number of far reaching challenges. In order to ensure the Federation remains fully relevant and supportive of its members in this changing landscape it commissioned a wide reaching review in 2018, which included an independent survey of its members.

A significant part of the findings of this survey related to the existing inspection scheme and highlighted that improvements and developments were needed to ensure the scheme adds value and enables ongoing development and improvements across the industry.

Kate joined the bereavement industry in 2008 as an Administration Assistant for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council after completing her law degree, before moving to Telford Crematorium as Crematorium Manager in 2010. She is currently Senior Manager of UK Operations and Memorial Business Development for The Crematorium and Memorial Group’s 46 crematoria and cemeteries (part of Dignity plc). Kate completed the ICCM Diploma in 2015 and looks forward to completing her Executive MBA with Warwick Business School in September 2019.
Cruse Bereavement Care – 60 years of supporting bereaved people
by Steven Wibberley, Chief Executive, Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care, the leading bereavement support charity in the UK, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. This presentation reviews the past, present and future of bereavement support. It also looks at what we all can do to tackle stigma and talk more openly about death, dying and bereavement.

Steven spent the first 20 years of his working life in the NHS, ending up as Regional Director for NHS Direct, the national telephone helpline. He then moved to health charities and worked at Macmillan Cancer Support for three years and then joined at the British Lung Foundation as Chief Operating Officer. He joined Cruse Bereavement Care as Chief Executive Officer in April 2018.
The National Implementation of the Medical Examiner System
by Dr Alan Fletcher, B Med Sci (Hons), MB ChB, FRCEM, FRCP Edin, RCPathME, National Medical Examiner, NHS Improvement

Dr Fletcher will give an update on the implementation of the new Medical Examiner system.

Alan is the National Medical Examiner for England and Wales, having been appointed in March 2019. He was Lead Medical Examiner in Sheffield until this appointment. He pioneered the medical examiner role since March 2008 as part of the Department of Health's death certification reforms and the experience gained has helped inform policy and strategy as well as the Francis report at Mid Staffordshire; he has personally reviewed over 22,000 deaths. He has responsibility for the training of prospective medical examiners as National Clinical Lead for e-learning and is a member of several DHSC committees, including the Death Certification Reforms Strategic Programme Board. He was Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists Medical Examiners Committee from 2015-2019. He maintains his clinical practice as Consultant in Emergency Medicine and General Internal Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Tuesday 2nd July

Planning for Burial and Cremation Space
by Lee Searles, BA, PGDip, MRTPI, Director of Planning, Enzygo Ltd

The presentation will draw on Lee’s experience of creating a planning strategy for burial space in London in the 1990s, the principles within which were brought forward to inform the preparation of two recent research studies to inform burial and cremation space planning strategies in two English Districts, Harborough and Northampton. The presentation will discuss principles, approaches and mechanisms which can be used by local authorities in planning for their burial and cremation space needs as part of their wider local plans and development management.

Lee has been Enzygo’s Director of Planning for the last five years and leads on all the company’s planning projects. Prior to working in consultancy, he led the Local Government Association’s work on planning reform and sustainable communities, working closely with local authorities to improve practice. Lee started in planning with the London Planning Advisory Committee and there co-wrote its planning for burial space strategy in London.

Crematorium transformations: processing bodies and marking lives
by Professor Douglas Davies, Ph.D., D.Litt., Hon. Dr. Theol, FAcSS, FLSW, FBA, Director of The Centre for Death and Life Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

Crematoria are key sites of world-view change in contemporary British society. This paper considers issues of ritual and body-processing whether in the ceremonies of formal religious, humanist, secular or other traditions, or in non-participative cremations. The potential of some British crematoria being simply sites of industrial cremation will be considered in terms of ethics, codes of conduct, ecology, and public demand, and in terms of human dignity, old age, and the hiddenness or publicity of death.

Douglas Davies trained in Anthropology and Theology and is now 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, cremation, and the theology of death. He edited the Encyclopedia of Cremation in 2005, and published Mors Britannica, Lifestyle and Death-Style in Britain Today in 2015. He is 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. In July 2017 Douglas was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.
Coffin Accreditation Scheme
by Alun Tucker, Chief Executive, Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association

In this presentation Alun will explain the background to the scheme which was introduced after discussions with the ICCM, FBCA and APCC. He will show how the testing process is conducted by Intertek, a leading Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, and the results to date.

With interaction from the audience Alun will seek to gain their understanding of the process and learn what negative experiences they have had from accredited coffins.

Alun Tucker was appointed Chief Executive of the Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA) in October last year. As Chief Executive he will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation, including managing its finances, administering the Coffin and Casket Certification scheme and keeping members up-to-date with the association’s work, to name but a few areas of focus.

A stalwart of the funeral world, Alun has been in funeral service since the age of 14 and attained his Diploma in Funeral Directing in 1981.

Alun retired from day to day funeral directing in August 2016 but has kept involved through the company he set up in 2015, Funeral Administration Ltd, through which he offers administrative support to organisations within the funeral profession. Until recently, Alun served as President of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors for a second time. He is also keen to promote the next generation of funeral directors, having chaired the Independent Funeral Directors’ College between 2005 and 2008 and through his current role as Company Secretary at the British Institute of Funeral Directors.

The good, the bad, and the ugly – the new paradigm of regulating funeral directors
by Terry Tennens, MBA, Mth, Chief Executive, National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
Funeral directors are living in unparalleled times of changes in the cultural norms of clients’ wishes as well as a new wave of regulatory investigations to ensure there is consumer protection. Terry will examine the impact on independent funeral directors in a fast changing market and what leadership skills are paramount for this context.

Whether it’s commenting on changes in legislation, consulting with other like-minded organisations or providing a comment for the media – Terry is committed to ensuring the views of independent funeral directors are heard throughout the UK.

Together with the team at SAIF Business Centre, he is also a strong advocate for professional development and a believer that funeral directors must have access to expert advice and support if they are to continue to provide a service of the highest standard.

An MBA post graduate, Terry previously served as founding Chief Executive of International Justice Mission UK, part of IJM Global, the largest anti-slavery organisation in the world.

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

Judith will provide updates from the Ministry of Justice on coroner, burial and cremation law and policy.

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 and was appointed as a magistrate in 1993.

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, burials, cremations and inquiries as well as dealing with the day-to-day handling of policy and casework, correspondence from MPs, coroners and the general public.

Judith was awarded an OBE for public service in June 2018.

What have you done David Bowie?
by Debbie Kerslake, Council Member, The Cremation Society of Great Britain

With David Bowie’s decision to opt for direct cremation in January 2016, this type of disposal became far better known. With newspaper headlines such as ‘Bowie secretly cremated’ and ‘Doing a Bowie’, suddenly everyone was talking about this simple, cheap and easy way of dealing with a body. If it was good enough for David Bowie then what’s to stop any of us following suit. Surely it’s better for bereaved people. But is it?

This session will look at direct cremation from the standpoint of those who are bereaved asking questions including:

  • Why might bereaved people opt not to have a funeral?
  • Will this help their grieving? 
  • Should we be doing more to ensure bereaved people know about what is involved?  
Debbie Kerslake joined Cruse Bereavement Care in 1999, becoming Chief Executive from 2008-2018. Debbie played a key role in working with multiple stakeholders to raise awareness of bereaved people’s needs, improve access to bereavement support and develop bereavement care service standards. Her work included developing the range of services offered, including to children & young people, enhancing training provision and reaching under-represented groups.

Debbie represented bereaved people on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement and was a member of groups including the Ministry of Justice Burial and Cremation Advisory Group, the Department of Health Death Certification National Steering Group, the National Cremation Working Group, the National Bereavement Alliance Steering Group, the Dying Matters Steering Group and the Life Matters Task Force. She led Cruse’s major incident response team following several incidents including 9/11 in New York. Prior to this, Debbie was a social worker specialising in child protection, disability and terminal illness. The respite, befriending and advocacy service she established won two national awards.

Since retiring from Cruse last year, Debbie has spoken at Singapore’s inaugural grief and bereavement conference; been accepted as a member of the International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement and become a community researcher with Birmingham University. She is also co-writing two books and joined the Council of the Cremation Society of Great Britain in February 2019.

Wednesday 3rd July

What the Public think of Crematoria – Part II
by Richard Martin, BSc, Director, Scattering Ashes

Last year we released a paper entitled ‘What the Public think of Crematoria’. It was well received but led to more questions, for example: is there a difference between what people think of the building and the grounds; does the age of the building have an impact; if you ask about the cost of cremation in a different way will you get a different result; what are people’s priorities?

So we resurveyed and the responses threw up some interesting results. This presentation will look at what they were and what they might mean for crematoria operators and the wider funeral industry.

Richard is founder of ‘Scattering Ashes’, the leading website for advice on cremation ashes and has been blogging and speaking about cremated remains for 10 years. He has written articles on social trends, cultural differences, legislative rulings, celebrity choices as well as pretty much everything else related to ashes.

Running the website has meant dealing with people from all over the world and has given him unique access to the changes in how people are dealing with this stage of the bereavement journey.

His research work has focussed on where you can and cannot scatter ashes; from football grounds to National Trust properties. He has recently published an exciting piece of research about the public’s attitudes to crematoria.

Richard’s background is in the environment with over 25 years at the Environment Agency and the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs. His understanding of the impact of cremated remains upon the land, the water and the air is based on his work across water, soil and air quality.

Brief History and Insight into the Pet Cremation Industry
by Nick Ricketts, Chairman, Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria

Nick will give an overview of the UK companion animal cremation industry, as well as outlining the attempts by the APPCC to bring dignity and transparency of operations into universal effect for the benefit of bereaved pet owners.

‘Captain Nick Ricketts MM (Master Mariner)’ spent the first 25 years of his working life at sea with BP, latterly as a shipmaster. For the last 26 years he has been self-employed having established ‘Paws to Rest Pet Bereavement Services’. He is the founder member and current Chairman of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria and is its representative at the Council of British Funeral Services. Nick is an ardent advocate of transparency within the pet bereavement industry.
What is the environmental impact of current methods of human and animal body disposal, and what can we do to limit it?
by Simon Holden, Managing Director, and Dr Caroline Sampson, BMedSci, BMBS (Hons), FRCA, FFICM, EDIC, Consultant in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Adult ECMO, Faunus Group

We are living in times where every industry and sector are under increasing pressure to vastly reduce their environmental impact. Dr Sampson will discuss possible changes that can be made in the funeral sector to help facilitate its transition to greener operations.

The presentation will explore everything from the biological decomposition processes of bodies and cremated remains and limiting their negative impacts, to the potential PR and image benefits the funeral sector can gain from environmentally beneficial practices.

Simon founded Faunus group at the beginning of 2017. The group focuses on environmentally positive impact business and currently has two companies under its umbrella that operate within the funeral industry – The Woodland Burial Company (UK) Ltd and Natural Transitions Ltd. Simon’s main focus is on delivering environmentally sustainable and financially rewarding solutions to the funeral sector.

Caroline graduated in medicine from Nottingham University in 2003 and completed training in Anaesthesia and Critical Care in 2014. Since then she has been a Consultant in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Adult ECMO at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.

She cares for patients requiring general and cardiac intensive care alongside stabilisation and transfer in of patients from units around the UK with life-threatening respiratory failure.

Funerals, Cremations and the CMA
by Howard Hodgson, MBIFD (Dip), Ass RSH, Chief Executive Officer, Memoria Ltd

This presentation will discuss the merits of the CMA’s case for looking into the cost of funerals and cremations in the UK. It will detail the actual facts and suggest solutions which would benefit the public while allowing competition and choice to thrive.

A fourth generation funeral director, Howard trained with James Summers of Cardiff in 1968. He took over the family business in 1975 and launched an expansion programme that culminated in the flotation of Hodgson Holdings plc in 1986. Through subsequent mergers the company formed the largest funeral/crematorium group in the UK. Howard sold his interests in 1991, having taken the company from one branch to 546 and became Entrepreneur of the Year 1987 in the process.

He is largely recognised as the individual who transformed the funeral industry in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. He is founder and CEO of Memoria, and has developed it into the third largest and fastest growing crematoria company in the UK today. In 2016 he founded Memoria Low Cost Funeral, the direct cremation arm of Memoria and has taken that company from a standing start to the largest Direct Cremation company in the UK.