Paul McCue presented his report, and went through it in detail.
Paul McCue reported that a complaint had been received regarding the cremation of an infant that took place 18 years ago. He explained that in the past it has been common for there to be no remains when a baby or infant is cremated. In 2014, the crematorium introduced the use of a tray in which the coffin is placed, to collect any ashes. He also advised that the new replacement cremators will also increase the likelihood of there being some remains. Clive Andrews confirmed that people are always warned that there may not be any remains.
The Board discussed this issue in depth and noted the need to ensure the bereaved are informed in a sensitive way. Clive Andrews confirmed that all crematorium staff treat all customers appropriately. Board members suggested that funeral directors have a role to play, and Paul McCue confirmed this would be discussed at upcoming meetings with them.
Paul McCue confirmed that a response to the complaint will be sent and if escalated, firstly he will address it and then, if not resolved, the Chair of the Board will need to consider the matter and respond.
Paul McCue pointed the Board to the two items for decision: (1) to confirm their agreement for LB Wandsworth, via Enable staff mutual group, to continue to provide operational support for the North East Surrey Crematorium; and (2) whether or not the Board wish to retain Paul McCue as the surveyor, or to ask LB Wandsworth to appoint another senior office to assume the role, who does not have line management responsibility for Bereavement Services and is outside of the Enable staff mutual group.
At the request of the Chair, Paul McCue and Clive Andrews left the meeting at 11 am so the Board could discuss their preferred approach in full. They were invited to return to the meeting at 11.20 am.
Councillor Candida Jones outlined the decisions made by the Board, but noted that the decision to ask LB Wandsworth to appoint another senior officer as Surveyor was no reflection on the performance of Paul McCue and noted that his input had been very highly regarded.
1. That LB Wandsworth, via Enable staff mutual group, will continue to provide operational support for the North East Surrey Crematorium for one year. If contractually possible, the Board will review the arrangement after one year and decide if the support should continue.
2. That LB Wandsworth appoint as Surveyor a senior officer who does not have line management responsibility for Bereavement Services and is outside of the Enable staff mutual group.