Annual Report
Year Ended 31st March 2006

The Cremation Society of Great Britain

Report of the Council

The members of the Council, who are the trustees of the charity and are also directors of the charity for the purposes of the Companies Act 1985, submit their annual report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2006. The trustees have adopted the provisions of the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP 2005) in preparing the annual report and financial statements of the charity, the group accounts incorporating the consolidated figures for its subsidiary company, the London Cremation Company plc and the associated charity, Golders Green Foundation.

The financial statements incorporate the effects of changes in the accounts of The London Cremation Company plc as a result of the following changes in accounting policy.

  • FRS 17 "Retirement Benefits" prescribes changes to the accounting treatment of defined benefit pension schemes.
  • FRS 21 "Events After the Balance Sheet Date" requires that dividends be recognised when declared rather than when proposed.
  • FRS 25 "Financial Instruments: Disclosure and Presentation" includes the requirement to disclose preference shares as long term liabilities and to treat preference dividends as a form of interest rather than as a distribution of retained profits.




The Society was founded in 1874 by Sir Henry Thompson, Bart, to promote and establish the practice of cremation for the disposal of bodies of dead persons and to join with local authorities or other bodies or persons for this purpose.

To achieve these objectives the charity:

  • encourages the highest operational and ethical standards in cremation practice through the establishment, ownership, management of or investment in crematoria.
  • holds regular cremation conferences, organises meetings and lectures and fosters research.
  • collates and disseminates information on cremation related topics.
  • liaises and co-operates with other organisations, government departments and individuals, both nationally and internationally, on cremation matters.
  • publishes a quarterely magazine Pharos International.
  • publishes directories of crematoria.


The Society is a company limited by guarantee and is a registered charity, governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association dated 26 July 1922 as amended on 14 October 2004. The Council is elected by the members of the Society. It currently has eight members and meets five times a year. The day to day operations of the charity are managed by the Secretary and his staff to all of whom the Council offers warm thanks for their work and dedication.

Related Parties

The charity has one subsidiary company, The London Cremation Company plc, a company registered in England, which owns and operates crematoria at Golders Green and St Marylebone in London, Woking St John's in Surrey, Banbury in North Oxfordshire and the Garden of England Crematorium in North East Kent.

The charity has a close relationship with the Golders Green Foundation, which is a registered charity. It has the power to appoint the Trustees of the Golders Green Foundation.

Statement of Council Members' Responsibilities

Company law requires us as Council members to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Society and the group and of the net income or expense of the Society and the group for that period. In preparing those financial statements we are required to:

  • select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
  • make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;
  • prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Society will continue in business.

We are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Society and enable us to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 1985. We are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Society and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.


The Group results for the year are shown in the consolidated summary income and expenditure account and the consolidated statement of financial activities. The net surplus of the group for the year on unrestricted general funds was £64,159 as compared to net deficit of £267,650 as restated for the previous year.

The year continued to be characterised by the continued role of the government in death care matters with continuing emphasis on environmental issues. Many of these have involved input from the Society and are referred to in this report.

The London Cremation Company plc

During the year under review the Company's profit before taxation amounted to £106,449. In the previous year profits before taxation amounted to £19,477 as restated.

The Company carried out 5,480 cremations during the year, a decrease of 42.

Golders Green Foundation

The net incoming resources for the year amount to £5,015. A donation amounting to £500 was made to the University of Arts London in connection with the book entitled Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape which was published in February 2006.



The Society's archives stored at the University of Durham's Palace Green Library (Special Collections Section) continue to be available to the public and research academics. They are well maintained and administered and regularly used by academic researchers. The Society's archives at Durham can be accessed via the internet at


The Society's website at continues to provide free access to a rich source of material on all aspects of cremation in the United Kingdom. It is regularly visited by the public, academics and those involved in the death care profession.

As a reference source on cremation legislation it is particularly helpful for those involved in the various inquiries and reviews involving the cremation movement, death and bereavement services.

The proposed revision of the website originally scheduled for 2005/6 has not yet taken place although it remains a priority. The revision will relate to presentation rather than substance and in the meantime the site continues to provide up to date statistical information as well as details of developments taking place within the cremation movement.

Directory of Crematoria

Sales of the Society's Directory of Crematoria remained strong despite increasing competition from producers of similar information in alternative formats and the cessation of the licensing agreement with ProQuest. Net income derived from the publication of the Directory increased materially.

Demand for the publication can be attributed to its ease of use and wide variety of up to date information which is maintained via the use of an annual questionnaire sent to all crematoria in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The Council is grateful to the staff of cremation authorities for their ready help in completing the questionnaire.

The range of information contained in the Directory is constantly being extended and now includes details of car parking facilities as well as the dimensions of the largest size of coffin that can be accommodated. With increasing numbers of families distressed to learn that the chosen crematorium for the cremation service cannot be used due to its inability to accommodate the size of the coffin, the Directory provides useful information to help funeral directors seek a suitable alternative.

Pharos International

During the period under review Pharos International consolidated its position as the leading cremation publication in Great Britain's cremation movement as well as one of the leading cremation publications world-wide, with copies presently circulating in approximately 43 countries. Articles appearing in Pharos are frequently reproduced in cremation magazines published by cremation and death care organisations in other countries thus providing the Society with a high profile and the widest possible readership. With increasing numbers of books being published on cremation related aspects of the death care profession the book review section of Pharos has become a regular feature with contributions from independent reviewers.

Edited by R N Arber, Pharos also remains the principal publication of the International Cremation Federation. Due to the quality of its content and standard of production as well as its national and international circulation, Pharos continues to be one of the Society's major promotional aids and avenue of communication. It continues on a sound financial footing with net income increasing over the previous year. As emphasised last year this is a significant achievement for the only subscription magazine in the British cremation movement.


In the last annual report reference was made to the following publications on which the Society had collaborated with the authors or had assisted with the provision of information for their content.

  • Encyclopaedia of Cremation edited by Professor Douglas J Davies, University of Durham
  • Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape by Professor Hilary Grainger, Dean of Quality Assurance & Academic Development, London College of Fashion
  • Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in 19th Century England by Dr Brian Parsons, and
  • From Dust to Ashes: Cremation and the British Way of Death by Revd. Dr. P C Jupp, Chairman of the Cremation Society.

The Encyclopaedia of Cremation, Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape, Committed to the Cleansing Flame: The Development of Cremation in 19th Century England and From Dust to Ashes: Cremation and the British Way of Death were published in December 2005, February 2006, November 2005 and February 2006 respectively. All carry a reference to the Society's contribution in their acknowledgements section and thank the staff of the University of Durham Library (Special Collections) for practical access to the archives. The publications are receiving good reviews and Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape has already undergone its first reprint.

Death Redesigned: British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape and From Dust to Ashes: Cremation and the British Way of Death were the subject of a book launch sponsored by the Society's subsidiary The London Cremation Company plc. Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Vice-President of the Cremation Society, led the address of welcome to attendees. A report on the book launch appeared in the Spring 2006 edition of Pharos International.

Annual Conference

For the third successive year the Society continued with the inclusion of a one day seminar in its conference format. The 2006 seminar topic was "Improving the Crematorium Experience … for Mourners" and again the seminar format proved an unqualified success.

Approximately 70% of British funerals are arranged every year at the country's crematoria. Cremation has been the British preference for nearly 40 years. The seminar focussed on various elements of the funeral service and what changes the cremation movement and funeral services as a whole could make to improve the crematorium experience for mourners.

Participants in the seminar consisted of speakers from religious and secular groups, ethnic minorities, funeral directors, crematorium managers from both the public and private sectors, bereavement care groups including the paediatric and palliative care sectors. The President of the Federation of British Cremation Authorities and the Cremation Society's Secretary also contributed to the programme.

At the close of the seminar there was a greater awareness and appreciation by all interested parties of the practical difficulties faced by crematoria in trying to meet the aspirations of mourners. There was also a recognition of those areas of service and facilities that warranted attention in order to improve the crematorium experience for mourners. Speakers and their presentations comprised as follows: Colin Rickman and Robin Scott A Funeral Director's View; Ann Barber Civil Ceremonies - A Celebrant's Perspective; Revd J Hugh A James Turning the Ordinary into the Extra-Ordinary; Kishor RupareliaHindu Cremation in the UK; Dr Ann Dent Cremations and Children; Ann Baldwin A View from CRUSE; Dawn Squires A Local Authority Perspective on Improving the Crematorium for the Bereaved; Jennifer Yardley The Private Company Crematorium Manager's Perspective; Rick PowellThe Code of Cremation Practice; Roger Arber How it can be improved for the benefit of mourners; Professor Geoffrey Woodroffe Complaints - How do we approach them?.

The remaining two days of the conference addressed legislative matters with papers on New Cremation (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (Parts 1 and 2) by Brian Patterson; The Human Tissue Act and Codes of Practice by Helen Shaw; and Funeral Pyres and the Law in England and Wales by Stephen White. Technical and environmental matters were addressed by papers on 'Dissolution' - A Mercury Free Alternative to Cremation by Sandy Sullivan; Abate or Burden Share - It's your Decision by Brendan Day; and Flameless Combustion by Frederick Pearson. The international session comprised of papers on Cremation in Japan - Update by Shoji Eguchi; The New Reykjavik Crematorium Complex, Icelandby Thórnsteinn Ragnarsson; and Crematoria in Israel - Judaism & Bureaucracy vs Freedom of Choiceby Alon Nativ. Social and cultural issues centred on the presentation on Where did all the ashes go? Findings from a study of the destinations of ashes removed from crematoria by Professor Jenny Hockey and Professor Emeritus Leonie Kellaher. As usual the conference concluded with a lively debate during the popular Presidents' Panel comprising Presidents from the British Institute of Funeral Directors, Co-operative Funeral Services Managers Association, Federation of British Cremation Authorities, National Association of Memorial Masons and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

Human Tissue Authority

As part of a consultation exercise the Society was invited to comment on draft Codes of Practice issued by the Human Tissue Authority. A comprehensive response was submitted by the Society relating to four main matters in which it had an interest, namely Public Display, Review of Cremation Legislation, Responsibility for Burial and Cremation Legislation, and Respectful, Decent, Dignified Disposal.

The Authority made its decisions on the final content to be included in the Codes based on the responses to the consultation. The first six Codes of Practice received parliamentary approval on 4 July 2006. They are designed to give practical guidance and lay down the standards expected. It is hoped that the codes will be of value to practitioners and other groups in helping to support good practice in an area of science and medicine.

The Human Tissue Act came into force on 1 September 2006 and the Authority will be issuing further codes of practice and additional guidance during the latter part of the year.

The Shipman Inquiry and Review of Coroner Services

The draft Corners Reform Bill was published in July 2006. The Commons all-party Constitutional Affairs Select Committee described the Bill as disappointing as it had dropped a number of proposed vital reforms.

Dame Janet Smith, the High Court Judge who carried out the inquiry into the Shipman killings and made a number of recommendations in the Third Shipman Inquiry Report relating changes to the system for death and cremation certification, told the Committee that the reforms would not remedy the defects that failed to detect Shipman.

The Society hopes that before the Bill reaches the statute books the opportunity will be taken to make material changes to allay the concerns expressed.

VAT: Review of Burials and Cremation Guidance

Following the conclusion of their consultation exercise on VAT Notice 701-32 (Burials and Cremation Guidance) the HM Revenue & Customs issued a draft of their internal guidance which is aimed at their assurance officers and which should be read in conjunction with Notice 701/32 Burials, Cremation and the Commemoration of the Dead. This was issued on 6 June 2006 and comments and observations requested by 20 June 2006. At the time of this report the final version of the internal guidance is still awaited.

Cremation (Amendment) Regulations 2006

As well as a short consultation period there was very limited actual consultation prior to the introduction of the Cremation (Amendment) Regulations 2006 which came into effect on 14 February 2006. Fortunately the Society was able to make a number of submissions prior to the issue of the Regulations in their final form.

In addition to pointing out drafting errors the Society expressed concern over references to "incineration" and "waste disposal" directives as they provoke connotations of an industrial process and undermine the dignity and respect in which a deceased body is to be held. The Society did not believe that the public would accept deceased loved ones as either undergoing an industrial process or being regarded as waste and would therefore find such references offensive. Unfortunately, despite considering the Society's comments carefully, the Department for Constitutional Affairs felt that there was no sensible alternative to such references.

The Society has constantly emphasised the danger of hastily drafted legislation. In the 20th Report of Sessions 2005-6 of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments reference is made to bad drafting in relation to the latest Cremation Regulations and this was acknowledged by the Department for Constitutional Affairs. It will be imperative to ensure that this is not the case when consolidation legislation is eventually introduced, which we understand will be in the not too distant future. The Department for Constitutional Affairs has confirmed that the Society will be invited to make submissions during any consultation exercise.

Cremation Regulations 1930 - Regulation 14

The Society was represented at a meeting called by the Department for Constitutional Affairs to consider disaster planning in the light of a potential full scale pandemic. The Society's input concerned cremation related matters, in particular legislation and documentation. The outcome of the meeting is still awaited.

Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group

During 2005-6 the responsibility for the Burials and Cemeteries Advisory Group was transferred from the Home Office to the Department of Constitutional Affairs. Under the chairmanship of Tony Woffinden, the Group made good progress during the year. Five workshops for invitees were held on five key issues: the re-use, provision, maintenance, regulation of burial grounds and uniformity of legislation. Whilst the remit of the Group is to process the recommendations of Andrew Bennett MP's 2001 report on Cemeteries for the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, the Society is represented on the Group. The major issue seen as sensitive is that of the re-use of old graves.

The Society continues to follow the progress of the Scottish Burial and Cremation Review Group.


The Society continues its strong links with the international cremation movement via its membership of the International Cremation Federation (ICF), of which it is a founder member, and through its Secretary's position as Vice-President on the Executive Committee. He has now been appointed Chairman of the European Regional Committee for which there are a number of candidates who are now being considered for appointment. All the ICF Regional Committees comprising of the Americas, Europe and Africa, and Australia and Asia, are expected to become operational during 2007.

Cremation in the Republic in Ireland

In the last Report of the Council there was reference to the assistance that the Society had provided a developer in the Republic of Ireland in their attempt to secure planning consent for a crematorium in County Tipperary at Mocklerstown, Ballyclerihan, Clonmel. Unfortunately, following a public hearing consent was refused. However it was a finely balanced decision and the developer in question felt that the exercise had been extremely worthwhile. As a result it was their intention to seek planning consent for a crematorium on another site in Southern Ireland which would satisfactorily address those points on which the Mocklerstown refusal had been based.

The site in question is Rocky Island in Cork Harbour and planning consent has now been obtained. The new crematorium is due to become operational before the end of 2006. This will be the fourth crematorium to open in the Republic and there are reports of other cremation projects under consideration. It is clear that the cremation movement in the Republic is gaining momentum and that the Society has played no small part in this.

Cremation in Israel

During 2005 the Society made contact with Aley-Shalechet (Autumn Leaves) Ltd in Israel following reports that they were offering the first cremation service in Israel. Having established contact the company was invited to accept an invitation to become a member of the International Cremation Federation. Their Chief Executive Officer attended the Society's 2006 conference and presented a fascinating paper highlighting the difficulties of providing a cremation service in Israel. During the conference he was presented with a certificate marking Associate Membership of his company of the International Cremation Federation. The Society continues to maintain contact with Aley-Shalechet and offer assistance and support wherever possible. The 2006 conference presentation will be published in a forthcoming issue of Pharos International.

Cremation in Greece

Over a period of several years, in his capacity as both Secretary of the Cremation Society and Secretary-General of the International Cremation Federation, Mr R N Arber has been assisting, along with others, the Committee for the Right of Cremation in Greece in their efforts to secure a change in the Greek law to permit the practice of cremation and the establishment of cremation facilities. After many years of hard work the Committee achieved success following an amendment to Greek legislation which became effective on 1 March 2006.

This momentous occasion was marked by a press conference in Athens on 28 March 2006. Our Secretary was invited to attend the event as the Committee's guest of honour. During the press conference he took the opportunity to convey the Society's congratulations on their considerable achievement as well as wishing them every success in their future endeavours.

A major hurdle has now been overcome following the change in Greek legislation to permit the practice of cremation. A great deal of hard work now lays ahead in formulating appropriate legislation to facilitate the practice as well as the establishment of a cremation facility. The Society is committed to assisting the Committee in this connection in any way that it can.

A full report on the work of the Committee and the press conference is reproduced in the Summer 2006 edition of Pharos International.

LG Global Challenger 2006

In July 2006 the Secretary met with a group of Korean students from Sung Kyun Kwan University, Seoul, South Korea, majoring in Business Administration. They were participating in the LG Global Challenger project. The main purpose of the project is to learn about the well developed death care service industry in Europe and identify features that can be applied to their own industry in Korea, which presently has a number of opportunities to change and improve.

Of particular interest to the students was the role and activities of societies, associations and institutions etc. within the death care industry, particularly in the cremation and funeral directing sectors. Following the meeting contact has been maintained with them and the Society has provided assistance with their research. Countries being studied in addition to the United Kingdom include Germany and Switzerland. When the results of their project are eventually published it is hoped that the salient points can be translated and reproduced in Pharos International

Association of Research Initiatives for Cremation (ARIC) of Japan

In London in June 2006 the Secretary met with the Secretary of the Association of Research Initiatives for Cremation (ARIC) of Japan, who was on a fact finding trip to the United Kingdom. The Association was established in Tokyo in 1999 and consists of 34 organisations, 27 private members and 5 scientific members who are university professors. Included within the aims of the Association is the carrying out of research into crematorium construction and management and the provision of educational training. He was particularly interested in the establishment and role of the Society within the British cremation movement. Since the meeting there have been further exchanges of information and the Association remains a useful contact and source of information about cremation in Japan.


During the period under review the Crematoria Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organisation (CAMEO) has been promoting a burden sharing scheme. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had previously indicated that it accepted that burden sharing would be a flexible way of achieving the reductions in mercury emissions required under the Process Guidance Note 5.2(04)Control of Mercury Emissions from Crematoria provided the cremation movement could provide satisfactory evidence by 31 December 2005 that such an approach could deliver the desired 50% reduction. In view of this there was a requirement that all crematoria had to notify their local regulating authorities by 31 December 2005 whether they were going to abate or burden share. Following representations from the Federation of British Cremation Authorities (FBCA) this date was put back to 1 June 2006 to give cremation authorities time to consider the implications of burden sharing and the options available to them..

The data collected by the FBCA following a survey of all cremation authorities who are subject to mercury emission legislation clearly indicated that in excess of 50% of cremations will be subject to mercury abatement by 31 December 2012. In addition there was substantial interest expressed in CAMEO and sufficient abated cremations to allow the burden sharing scheme to function. In the light of these results which demonstrated that the industry has the ability to monitor itself and provide information to DEFRA, DEFRA has therefore been asked to express officially its support for the scheme and an announcement is understood to be imminent in this respect.

In order to ensure the ongoing development of CAMEO it was decided to create a Management Committee within the FBCA. In recognition of the valuable role that the Society has played in the development of CAMEO it was asked to nominate a representative to sit on the Committee. This position in now filled by the Society's Secretary.

Funeral Pyres

On 12 July in a field in Stamfordham, Northumberland, a cremation was carried out on an open funeral pyre. The cremation was arranged by the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society. The police took no action at the time stating that in respecting the values and beliefs of all faiths they did not wish to cause any additional upset to a grieving family, but subsequently they believed offences may have been committed under the Cremation Act 1902. The Department for Constitutional Affairs has stated clearly that in its view funeral pyres are illegal and the burning of human remains in the open air is against the law. To date a prosecution has yet to be brought.

The Anglo-Asian Friendship Society are challenging this view and are lodging a judicial review in the High Court in September. If unsuccessful their legal advisers will be taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. If successful this will have far reaching implications for the cremation movement in this country. Presently no crematorium in the United Kingdom can operate without complying with Process Guidance Note 5/2(04) which sets emission limits and lays down onerous conditions for controlling these, particularly dioxins and mercury. The cost to the cremation industry in meeting the requirements of the Guidance Notes is estimated to be in the region of £160m - £180m.

At the time of the incident the Society issued a news release to the media advising that it approved of groups being allowed to arrange for cremation in accordance with their religious or philosophical beliefs - provided that they complied with all legal requirements. The primary objective of the Society is to encourage cremation in a way that is environmentally friendly, sympathetic and supportive to mourners and consistent with the law in all its respects.

The Society continues to keep a watching brief on this significant event.

Funeral Practices in the Environment

The final version of the guidance document entitled Funeral practices, spreading ashes and caring for the environment, prepared by the Environment Agency, was published this July. As one of the original consultees during the drafting exercise the Society made a number of suggestions, several of which were incorporated in the final version of the publication. The leaflet is designed to outline the Agency's policy on preventing any harm to the environment as a result of funeral practices. It gives guidance on how the spreading of ashes in rivers and streams can be accommodated in this respect.

West Berkshire Crematorium (Thatcham)

On 30 January the Society was represented at the Service of Dedication of West Berkshire Crematorium in Thatcham. West Berkshire Crematorium is a single chapel facility built on a site of approximately 4.5 hectares and provides an alternative to crematoria at Basingstoke and Reading. It is Great Britain's 250th crematorium.

Associate Schemes and Membership Schemes

Preliminary work has commenced on the provision of new Associate Scheme and Membership Schemes which can now be facilitated following the introduction of new Memorandum and Articles of Association. Attention is presently focussed on the possible membership benefits that might be offered together with the practical aspects of promoting any new scheme having regard to the Society's resources both in terms of finance and staff.

Joint Life Member Certificates

There is a provision in the accounts for the Society's future liability under Founder Member certificates and this is reassessed annually. After reviewing the number of claims and amount per claim it has been decided to retain the existing provision for the year under review. However, whilst the amount per claim has increased over the years the number of claims made has declined dramatically. The position will be monitored closely with a view to dispensing with the provision in the future.


There has been limited progress in updating and transferring old data retained in manual form to the computerised medium. The work in question relates primarily to old membership records and continues to be a long term ongoing task.

Upgrading of the Society's computer system, including the installation of broadband facilities, has been completed. This has led to the anticipated improvement in efficiency. Broadband and e-mail facilities have proved particularly useful both for communication and the ability to keep up to date with developments relevant to the Society through access to appropriate websites.

Investment Portfolio

The investment objective is to produce the optimum total return from income and capital over the long term.

Newton Investment Management Ltd is the Society's fund manager and the Society's investment portfolio comprises of Newton Global Growth and Income Fund units. Performance has proved satisfactory and management charges continue at an acceptable level.

Brecon House

Messrs Watson Day, Chartered Surveyors, act as the Society's property managers advising the Society, in its capacity as landlord, on all aspects of its responsibilities arising out of existing and emerging legislation, particularly with regard to health and safety issues. Necessary and appropriate risk assessments continue to be carried out and their recommendations implemented.

The property is maintained in good order as it represents a significant investment for the Society. The Society's office area is in need of redecoration and a degree of refurbishment and this matter is now being addressed. The Society's office continues to provide free of charge a fully staffed, independent permanent office providing a service from 9a.m. to 5p.m., five days a week, to deal with enquiries from the public and existing or prospective cremation authorities. Its staff and up to date administration system ensures that it continues to provide an efficient, first class service.


The Society will continue to consolidate its existing relationships with allied organisations as well as participating in discussions on cremation related topics on which it can speak with authority. It will co-operate with kindred organisations when the cause of cremation is being promoted and will at all times, through its interests in cremation companies, promote the practice of cremation to the highest standard with the public's interest uppermost.

It will continue to consolidate relationships already established with government departments and organisations such as the Association of Crematorium Medical Referees, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Office for National Statistics, Department of Trade and Industry, Office of Fair Trading, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, Review of Coroner Services, Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group, British Standards Institute Committee FSW/1 (European Funeral Standard), and the Human Tissue Authority. It will cultivate relationships with other government departments as appropriate and will continue to contribute to any Inquiries or Reviews that may be relevant to the cremation profession.

As a priority the Society will continue to play an active role in international affairs through its representation on the Executive Committee and Sub-Committees of the International Cremation Federation, particularly with regard to the formation of new regional structures.


In order to keep abreast of legislative developments as well as ensuring that the Council is fulfilling its statutory duties and responsibilities, the Secretary and a number of Council Members attend appropriate trustee training courses whenever possible. In addition all Council Members are provided with Briefing and Guidance Notes issued by its advisers Messrs Farrer & Co and Newton Investment Management Ltd. All Council Members have access to the Charity Commission's electronic version of its publication"Charity News".


The Charities Bill had its Second Reading debate in the Commons on 26 June and completed its committee stage in July. The Bill will now pass to the Report Stage where further amendments can be considered before it concludes its passage through the Commons with its Third Reading. If amendments are agreed by both Houses the Bill will be given Royal Assent and become an Act.

As mentioned in last year's report the Bill will inevitably affect the Society and its Council is therefore keeping a watching brief on its progress to ensure that the Society complies, as appropriate, with any new legislation.


The Council has reviewed the reserves of the Society. This review encompassed the nature of the major income and expenditure streams, the need to match income and expenditure and the nature of the Society's reserves. The Society's principal sources of funds are the income from the investment portfolio, Brecon House and incoming resources from charitable activities. The Council also considered the nature of the Society's assets, which include the investment portfolio, investment property, the investment in its subsidiary company and the assets used directly for charitable purposes.

Resulting from this review, the Council has come to the conclusion that reserves representing the investment in its subsidiary and associated companies should be considered separately. These companies meet the objective of investing in crematoria which encourage the highest operational and ethical standards in cremation practice.

The Council consider the balance of the reserves is sufficient to generate the income required to meet other objectives of the Society and to operate efficiently. The Council believes that its present reserves are at about the right level to meet its objectives.


The Council regularly reviews the major risks which the Society may be exposed to with regard to its practical operations. The Council has carried out a comprehensive risk assessment exercise. This will be implemented on an ongoing basis and will be reviewed regularly.

With regard to risks relating to the finances of the Society the Council is satisfied that maintaining an unrestricted general reserve at the level stated above will provide sufficient resources for the foreseeable future.


In the opinion of the Directors of the London Cremation Company, the market value of the freehold and leasehold land and buildings of the subsidiary is considerably in excess of the net book value of £3,476,425. In the absence of a professional valuation of all the properties the Society's Council is unable to quantify that excess.


Having taken professional advice the Council considered it prudent to revalue the property at £800,000 (2005: £775,000). The Council believes this to be a fair market value at 31 March 2006 in the light of existing open market rents and the remaining term of existing tenants' leases.


During the early part of 2006 the Right Honourable The Lord Tunnicliffe CBE consented to serve as a Vice-President of the Society and was appointed on 20 April 2006.

He was Managing Director of London Underground, a role in which he served for ten years before becoming chairman of London Underground and the Chief Executive of London Transport, a position he held until 2000. In 2002 he joined the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and served for two years as its part time non-executive chairman. The Authority is responsible for the safe environmental restoration of its old research sites and the supervision of the UK's fusion research. On 1 April 2003 he became part time non-executive Chairman of the Rail Safety and Standards Board and more recently joined the House of Lords as a Labour working peer.

Being eligible he will be standing for election at the Society's forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

The Directors of the Society (who are honorary and known as Members of the Council) who served during the financial year, were as follows:-

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp
H. Thomas C.B.E.
S.R.G. White
Professor G.F. Woodroffe
Ms. C. Lambert (Resigned 10th August 2005)
Dr. S. Leadbeatter
A. D. McCarthy
Mrs J Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer)

The Society's Council comprises highly qualified members prominent in their individual fields of expertise. Nevertheless the Council will continue to increase its expertise and widen its influence wherever possible.

The undermentioned members of the Council were also Directors of the Society's subsidiary, The London Cremation Company plc., from which they received total emoluments of £61,200 during the year ended 31 March 2006 (2005: £59,300).

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp
H. Thomas C.B.E.

The interest of members of the Council, including family interests, in the shares of the subsidiary at the beginning and end of the year, were as follows:

  Ordinary Shares Preference Shares
  31/3/06 1/4/05 31/3/06 1/4/05
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey     100 100
H. Thomas C.B.E. 1,182 1,182 1,000 1,000
Revd. Dr. P.C. Jupp     100 100
Non-Beneficial Trustee Interests:        
The Right Honourable The Earl Grey 220,000 220,000    

The Right Honourable The Earl Grey is a Trustee of the Golders Green Foundation.


A resolution will be submitted to the forthcoming Annual General Meeting that Messrs. Larkings, Chartered Accountants, be re-appointed Auditors of The Society.


Date: 26 September 2006
R.N. Arber, Secretary