Agenda and minutes

North East Surrey Crematorium Board
Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA

Contact: Sharon Major, Clerk to the Board  Tel: 020 8770 4990, Email:  committeeservices@sutton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

10.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Belton, and also subsequently from Councillor Pauline Cowper. Also absent were  Councillor David Simpson and Councillor Graeme Henderson.

11.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made

12.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

13.

Report of the Surveyor

This report is to provide an update to the board on activities in the quarter to September 2018 relating to the management agreement between North East Surrey Crematorium Board and Wandsworth Council. The day to day management responsibilities are carried out on behalf of the Council by Enable Leisure and Culture.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Clive Andrews, the Surveyor introduced the report, which provided an update on activities covering the quarter to September 2018 relating to the management agreement between North East Surrey Crematorium Board and Wandsworth Council and the responsibilities carried out by Enable Leisure and Culture. Members attention was drawn to the following points:

Business level activity. The Surveyor advised the increase in number of cremations for the year, and also the month on month increases recently seen.

Performance Monitoring of Enable Leisure and Culturefor quarter 4 year 3 (Aug 2018) was discussed. The Surveyor a spoke through the exempt report, and responded to Member enquiries on if more of the report could be made public.

Action Plan. The surveyor went through the action plan in appendix C, and outlined in particular the update on the purchase of new land. The Board were advised that once all valuations have been received a report will come forward to a subsequent meeting to provide more details.

The Surveyor spoke through the repair and renewal and capital works, and responded to Member queries, Councillor Galligan asked about the condition of the main driveway. The Surveyor advised that it had been resurfaced 18 months ago and is still in good order and it is believed that no further repairs should be needed for the next 10 years.

Establishing A New Ashes Lawn. The surveyor advised that last year the board agreed a sum of money  to raise the level of the ashes lawn forming part of capital works programme,  due to exhaustion of available land within the Garden of Remembrance.  The Board were advised that it is now believed that the capital budget for this would exceed the allocated budget as it is now estimated that this would cost minimum of £100k against a budget of £75k.

Following the tour of the ashes lawn in June  concerns were raised by Members regarding raising the level of the ashes lawn. Therefore the Surveyor has re-examined the proposals to provide an alternative option. The Board were advised that an alternative site has been identified to establish a new ashes lawn. Members were asked to consider two options

Option 1 to continue with the existing arrangement to mound over the original ashes lawn which would provide space for approximately 50 more years interments. The Board were advised that as part of looking at this option an area of the original ashes lawn has been found which is not yet used, which would potentially give another 5 years worth of space for interments.

Option 2 to create a new ashes lawn elsewhere in the garden - the land identified is adjacent to the cloister walkway. It was estimated that this would provide space for 15 years of interments with the additional possibility of extending the size of the lawn by incorporating space currently used for memorial rose beds thus extending the capacity.

In debate Members indicated they would like to meet at the site to look at the areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Report of the Treasurer pdf icon PDF 35 KB

This report is to provide an update to the Board on the performance against the Management Agreement Annual Budget as approved in December 2017 and to provide an update to the Board on the latest Interim Accounts.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark Davies, the Treasurer to the Board introduced the report, and drew Members attention to appendix A. In respect of administrative costs where there is a negative figure on gas, he advised this is still being investigated but that the costs coming through from Enable are now based on actual meter readings and should therefore be accurate. The Treasurer advised that overall costs are being well controlled.

 

In respect of the accounts, in appendix B, the Treasurer highlighted that line 23 shows cash received to August, and updated the Board on the payments received from funeral directors. He advised that the level of arrears have now improved so at end of August £109K was outstanding of which £75K related to August so was not due under the invoice payment terms. The Treasurer advised there was previously an issue with one Funeral Director not paying within the agreed terms and that firm are now not given credit terms. Members queried how much capital is available to spend on capital expenditure. It was confirmed that if the cost of the original ashes lawn proposal increased to in excess of 100K as suggested by the Surveyor, that could be absorbed without negatively impacting on the budgeted level of the surplus balances to be distributed.

 

RESOLVED: that the North East Surrey Crematorium Board

1.    Management Agreement performance for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 July 2018 attached at Appendix A was noted

 

2.            The Interim Accounts for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 July 2018 were noted.

 

15.

Annual Review of Risks pdf icon PDF 137 KB

This report is to provide an update to the annual review of risks and a documented approach to risk management.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The report was presented by the Treasurer who spoke through the risk management plan to control risk.  Members queried if any of the risks identified could tip from satisfactory to

unsatisfactory and if so if they should be highlighted. The Treasurer confirmed that the review was completed by Chief Officers and no issues were identified.

 

Councillor Galligan asked about funeral costs and if more families are querying prices now.  Barbara Ward, The Crematorium Manager, advised NESC are cheaper than other crematorium in the area.  She also pointed out that some families are doing more themselves like completion of documentation and also not using the services of a funeral director.  So it was confirmed that people are looking at how to reduce costs. She also advised that there has been more use of the less expensive early morning time slot.

 

Councillor Walsh asked what the options are for families not using the services of a funeral director. It was confirmed that some families ask for the hospital to retain the deceased ahead of the funeral rather than using the storage services of a funeral director and also that they arrange their own transport.  Members asked if the coffin is sealed on arrival at the crematorium and a concern was raised regarding any malpractice in respect of these family managed arrangements arrangements.  The Surveyor pointed out that regardless of if arrangements are made by the family themselves or by a funeral director, in all cases the same statutory paperwork is provided and the coffin will be closed on arrival. He advised that if the nameplate on the coffin matches the paperwork that that is taken on trust.  The Surveyor accepted that as more funerals take place, where the services of a funeral director are not used this could be an issue to consider in the future.

 

RESOLVED: that

1 The annual review of Risks be noted.

 

16.

Update on Progress with Actions from Annual Review of Internal Control Report pdf icon PDF 212 KB

This report is to provide an update to the Board on the progress made with the actions from the Annual Review of Internal Control, as reported to you by the Treasurer on 12 June 2018.

 

Members will recall that there was an action on the Officers of the Board to review the Financial Regulations  the Standing Orders and the Scheme of Delegation on at least an annual basis to ensure that they are up to date, accurate and appropriate. The target date for completion was by September 2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Treasurer confirmed the review has taken place in line with the Internal Audit recommendations reported in June 2018 and highlighted the proposed minor amendments.

 

There were no Member questions

 

RESOLVED: that

  1. It was noted that the review of the boards Standing Orders, Scheme of Delegation and Financial regulations had taken place within the Internal Audit recommended time frame
  2. The Standing Orders at Appendix A be approved.
  3. The Scheme of Delegation at Appendix B be approved.
  4. The Financial Regulations at Appendix C be approved
  5. It was noted that all other recommendations and actions arising from the Annual Review of Internal Control have now been implemented

 

17.

Any urgent items brought forward at the discretion of the Chair

The Chair must approve the reason for urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

18.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the Board will take place on 4 December 2018 at 10 am at Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Board will take place on 4 December 2018 at 10am at London Borough of Sutton Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way Sutton. SM1 1EA.

 

Exempt Supplement