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 2007. 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, the London Cremation Company plc and the associated charity, The Golders Green Foundation.
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:
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 six 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.
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 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.
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:
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 £59,523 as compared to £64,159 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.
During the year under review the Company's profit before taxation amounted to £106,449. In the previous year profits before taxation amounted to £106,449. The Company carried out 5,276 cremations during the year, a decrease of 204 on the previous year.
The deficit for the year amounted to £13,542 as a result of donations being made of £19,000 in respect of the following:
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. Present use includes research over a period of eighteen months to produce six research papers about key ipisodes in the history of cremation in the United Kingdom. The Society's archives at Durham can be accessed via the internet at library.dur.ac.uk/search/c?SEARCH=CremationSoc
The Society's website at www.cremation.org.uk 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 professions.
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. It will prove particularly useful when reviewing proposals for the consolidation of cremation regulations.
As previously advised it is the intention to revise the presentation of the website rather than its substance. An update will take place as soon as practicable.
During the year the Society's Directory of Crematoria consolidated its position as the principal, most informative and up to date directory of its kind. Its position has been maintained despite competition from several competitors. Sales and net income derived from the publication have held up satisfactorily.
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 cooperation in completing the questionnaire, thus providing the Society with the opportunity to provide the most detailed information available.
The Directory is used by the Valuation Office Agency which is responsible for the revaluation of all crematoria in England and Wales for rating purposes. The Agency was responsible for re-valuing all crematoria for 2005 Rating Lists, which came into force on 1st April 2005. The Directory is an important source of reference to the Agency when in discussions with various operators and their agents.
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 42 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.
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. Pharos is edited by R N Arber.
Programme details can be found in the Report and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31st March 2006.
The cremation movement is made up of a number of organisations representing their own individual interests. It had been thought for some time that if they could come together, still retaining their individual interests and identities, the cremation movement would be seen as a united one and therefore be able to exert much greater influence, particularly on legislative matters.
With this in mind many in the cremation and burial movement have been calling for the major cremation and burial organisations to join together and hold a single conference. Faced with the prospect of several annual conferences it has become increasingly difficult financially for existing and potential delegates and suppliers of services and equipment to choose between them.
The Society has taken the initiative and its Secretary undertook lengthy discussions with the major UK organisations representing those responsible for promoting the practice of burial and cremation. We are pleased to report that with one exception all agreed to forgo their annual conferences in order to join together in a single event. In order to provide an international dimension successful discussions were also held with the International Cremation Federation who were due to hold their General Council Meeting in 2007.
This willingness to work together has resulted in co-operation to support a single conference and major exhibition known as the International Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2007 held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel during the dates 12th to 14th November 2007. The event has been staged with input and co-operation from the following organisations.
A diverse programme was put together to appeal to delegates from all sections of the death care profession. It covered legislative developments with papers on Consultation on Improving the Process of Death Certification by Simon Bennett, Department of Health; The Work of the Burial and Cemeteries Advisory Group by Robert Clifford, Ministry of Justice; Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) - Improving Facilities for All by Sharon Almond; Cremation Regulations - Consolidation and Modernisation by Bridgette Prentice MP and The Biocides Directive by Adrian Haler.
The focus on social and cultural issues was provided by papers on Cremation: How the Churches got it wrong by Revd. Dr. John Lampard; Crematoria to die for: Modernity over burial in Glamorgan by Professor Hilary Grainger and Sikhs say 'No' to open air funeral pyres by Harmander Singh.
The role and effect of cremation as well as emerging alternative technologies was addressed in papers entitled Environmental Impacts of Death by Dr Mark McLellan; Up in Smoke or Six Feet Under by Andrew Mallalieu and Resomation User - Mayo Clinic by Sandy Sullivan and Dean Fisher.
The subject of re-use of graves both nationally and internationally was covered by papers entitledRevitalising Cemeteries - New ways forward will the old and Re-use the Australian Way by Dr Julian Litten and Peter MacLean respectively.
Practical operational aspects of cremation were covered by presentations on CAMEO Update by Brendan Day, The Monitoring of Multiple Abatement Installations by Dr Clive Chamberlain andPandemic Planning by Duncan McCallum.
Finally, in addition to the regular Presidents' Panel which this year included Presidents from the British Institute of Funeral Directors, Co-operative Funeral Managers Association, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, National Association of Funeral Directors, National Association of Memorial Masons and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, there was also anInternational Question Time made up of a panel of experts from Germany, The Netherlands, UK and USA.
Throughout the conference Country Reports were presented by members of the International Cremation Federation with contributions from following countries: Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and USA.
The Council judges that the success or otherwise of the joint event will determine the likelihood of future similar events and a full report in this respect will be carried in the next annual Report of the Council.
The Society is represented on this group by the Chairman. The Group has made good progress in the last year, in particular gaining government agreement for a means of enabling the re-use of old graves. As the Society's primary purpose of to promote cremation, it maintains a neutral stance on this issue.
The Society is represented on the Council which meets regularly twice a year.
There has been a noticeable increase in the number of consultation exercises carried out and reports published relating to various aspects of the disposal of the dead. They include Consultation on Improving the Process of Death Certification (Department of Health), Cremation Regulations Consolidation and Modernisation (Ministry of Justice), Statutory Duty for Doctors and other Public Service Personnel to Report Deaths to the Coroner (Ministry of Justice), Planning for a Possible Influenza Pandemic - A Framework for Planners Preparing to Manage Deaths (Home Office), The Results of a Survey of Burial Grounds in England and Wales (Ministry of Justice), and Burial Law and Policy in the 21st Century - The Way Forward (Ministry of Justice) (Government Response to Consultation).
The Society has been provided with details of all these and where it has a particular interest it has responded in its capacity as a consultee.
"Every year some 500,000 people die in the United Kingdom", says the consultation. The loss of a close relative is a particularly difficult time for families and at such a time they need to have confidence in the public services associated with the certification of death and burial or cremation. For most of them their experience of the processes surrounding the death of a family member is satisfactory, but there is a possibility of things going wrong. The Harold Shipman case which was the subject of an inquiry chaired by Dame Janet Smith showed the thankfully rare but potentially devastating effects of criminal activity relating to death certification.
The Consultation on Improving the Process of Death Certification seeks the views on proposals to address the Shipman Inquiry's recommendations that there should be one system of death certification with effective scrutiny applicable to all deaths, whether the death is to be followed by burial or cremation, and that public health surveillance of causes of death should be improved.
The system of death certification in England and Wales has remained largely unchanged for over 50 years. The current arrangements require that for all deaths the doctor who attended the patient in their final illness should complete a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). Additional clarification is required before bodies can be released for cremation which currently accounts for approximately 70% of all disposals.
The consultation paper sets out proposals to address the weakness identified by the Shipman Inquiry in the current system for certifying deaths. The government believes that the proposals represent a more transparent, proportionate, consistent and affordable response that will provide greater protection for the public, improve the quality and accuracy of death certification, improve public health surveillance and remove current inequalities in the way burials and cremations are dealt with.
In responding to the consultation document the Society took the opportunity to express its disappointment that the present consultation paper is limited to the proposal for a Medical Examiner and says nothing about the reform of the death certificate.
The Cremation Regulations 1930, which have effect in England and Wales, have been amended several times since they were introduced and are seen by many as old fashioned and confusing. The case for modernising the language and consolidating the Regulations is very strong and the government is therefore consulting as widely as possible on what form the new Regulations should take.
There are two main policy changes. Firstly, that the bereaved will have the right to inspect the medical forms before cremation. This will allow for them to discuss any concerns that they may have about the death with the Medical Referee. Only then will the Medical Referee authorise cremation. The government is still considering what further changes might be required to death certification legislation in the light of the activities of Harold Shipman and this work is being taken forward by the Department of Health.
Secondly, the regulation on handling contagious disease cases, which allows certain regulations to be dispensed with or for the regulations to be temporarily modified or suspended, will no longer be required. In the event of a pandemic the Regulations would be amended to allow for a simpler procedure for the cremation of bodies.
In addition to the above there are a number of minor changes to the Regulations and forms used in connection with cremation on which comments are invited.
As the instigator of the original cremation regulations this consultation is of particular interest to the Society. It has therefore submitted a comprehensive response to the proposals set out in the consultation paper and has been invited to participate in further discussions on this matter with the Ministry of Justice.
The CAMEO Steering Group, formerly known as the CAMEO Management Committee, met regularly during the year under review.
In a news release issued by DEFRA in October 2006, the Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw acknowledged the role of CAMEO and the work of the Society with these words:
"The success so far of this flexible approach is due in no small part to the levels of co-operation within the sector and of the commitment of some key players to making the system effective. I congratulate them for that, and the Federation of British Cremation Authorities and the Cremation Society for the leadership they have shown, particularly with the CAMEO Scheme.
Certainly burden sharing seems to be working, and I am persuaded that it would be sensible to continue with it so long as it keeps showing it can deliver."
On 28th June a CAMEO Masterclass Seminar was held at the Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon, supported by a number of organisations including the Society, and was extremely successful being oversubscribed. Further events are planned for 2008.
Statutory guidance issued by DEFRA in Air Quality Note 1(05), as supplemented by Notes 13(05) and 24(05), specifies 50% mercury abatement. CAMEO is collating the information required by DEFRA in order to monitor progress towards this.
CAMEO is arranging mercury abatement burden sharing at the national level and provides an umbrella organisation for both running the system and reporting to DEFRA, Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive. CAMEO will now issue guidance on the criteria for deciding whether cremation authorities are to fit abatement or contribute towards the cost and will approve and register all burden sharing arrangements.
Decisions by individual crematoria whether to abate or not will also be recorded by regulators in the legally enforceable permits issued under the 2000 Regulations. On receipt of this information CAMEO will register a crematorium's intention concerning burden sharing, or other arrangements that they are making to comply with the statutory guidance. CAMEO will confirm these details in a Mercury Abatement Compliance Certificate of Registration which a crematorium will be able to provide to its regulator by way of notification under its permit.
In the summer of 2006 three students from Bexhill College in East Sussex undertook a science project at the Conquest Hospital Cardiac Department at Hastings. The project was funded by the Nuffield Science Foundation through a bursary award scheme. The students worked for four weeks during their summer holidays, investigating the explosive properties of pacemakers when subjected to heat and, in particular, why they may end up in the cremation process.
To achieve all of these objectives they requested assistance from the Society and on their behalf it e-mailed their survey questionnaire to over 200 crematoria.
The group visited the Fire Services College in Gloucestershire and under strict safety conditions exploded explanted pacemakers and defibrillators. The videos and photographs of the experiment were made available on a dedicated website.
Their findings were made available to the local division of their Fire Service which have circulated details of the team's findings to neighbouring fire stations so that they are aware of the potential dangers if attending hospital fires. The results of the project were also supplied to the Department of Health highlighting the dangers of pacemakers not being stored correctly in the event of fire.
A comprehensive article on this science project can be found in the Winter 2006 (Vol. 72 Issue 4) edition of Pharos International on page 18.
There was provision in the accounts for the Society's future liability under Founder Member certificates and this is reassessed annually. In past years, having reviewed the number of claims and amount per claim it was decided to retain the existing provision. Whilst the amount per claim has increased over the years the number of claims made has declined dramatically. On reviewing the present situation the Trustees have decided that there is no longer any need for the provision of such a reserve in the light of the expected number of future claims and the sum totalling £30,000 in this reserve has been released to the general fund.
The task of updating and transferring old data retained in manual form to the computerised medium continues but is now a slower process bearing in mind the level of staff available.
The computer installation was recently updated and broadband and e-mail facilities have proved to be extremely useful and productive in respect of the International Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2007. Some of the older items of hardware are in need of upgrading or replacement bearing in mind their age and this is a matter that will have to be addressed in the near future.
The new Memorandum and Articles provided for Associateship of the Society. It is hoped that an Associate scheme will be set up during the next year.
The investment objective is to produce the optimum total return from income and capital over the long term.
In the light of regular withdrawals in order to fund the activities of the Society its investment fund manager, Newton Investment Management Ltd, submitted proposals regarding the future level of management that they would provide together with fees to be charged in this connection. After considering the proposals the Trustees decided to realise the Newton Global Growth and Income Fund portfolio and transfer the proceeds to the Liquidity Manager Deposit Account with the National Westminster Bank. These funds would be readily accessible and withdrawals would not incur charges.
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 continues to be in need of redecoration and a degree of refurbishment but this has not been possible during the year under review due to cash flow constraints. The Council has taken the decision to sell Brecon House and look for smaller premises, releasing funds for our charitable purposes.
The Society's office continues to provide free of charge a staffed, independent permanent office providing a service from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week to deal with enquiries from the public and existing or prospective cremation authorities. Reduction in staffing resources due to financial constraints will inevitably place heavier demands upon existing staff.
The Council wishes to place on record its appreciation and gratitude for the loyalty and commitment of its office staff.
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, Office for National Statistics, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Justice, 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.
In November 2007 the Society's Secretary retired from his position as Senior Vice-President of the International Cremation Federation, an organisation in which he has served for some 23 years, 14 of which as its Secretary General. Although our Secretary has stepped down the Society is committed to playing an active role in the affairs of the ICF, of which it is a founder member, and international affairs generally. As mentioned earlier in this report, the Society's Secretary was instrumental in securing the involvement of the ICF in the International Cremation and Burial Conference and Exhibition 2007.
The Society is pleased that the vacancy created on the Executive Committee of the International Cremation Federation following our Secretary's retirement has been filled by the Secretary of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.
In the 19th century the original declaration on which the Cremation Society of England was founded stated that:
"We, the undersigned, disapprove the present custom of burying the dead, and we desire to substitute some mode which shall rapidly resolve the body into its component elements, by a process which cannot offend the living, and shall render the remains perfectly innocuous. Until some better method is devised we desire to adopt that usually known as cremation."
Over the years there have been a number of alternative methods put forward for disposing of the dead but none of them have either proved to be practically viable or socially acceptable. However in the 21st century and with the advancement of technology the Society's Council recognises that it must be open to the possibility that an alternative and equally acceptable, if not better method for disposing of the bodies of dead persons other than cremation may emerge and that the Society's Memorandum of Association should not preclude the Society from accommodating such a method.
It is therefore the Council's intention to effect a change to the Society's Memorandum and Articles of Association in order to facilitate such an eventuality.
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" and are referred to it when any particular topic is addressed that may be of specific interest to the Society.
The Charities Act 2006 became law on 8th November 2006. The Act's provisions do not come into force immediately: they will be phased in over a period of time. When they become effective and implementation is required the Society will comply as appropriate, guided by its professional advisers.
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 incoming resources from charitable activities and income from Brecon House. The Council also considered the nature of the Society's assets which include the assets used directly for charitable purposes, the investment property and the investments in its subsidiary company and other cremation authorities. Following this review, the Council came to the conclusion that reserves representing the investment property and the investments in the subsidiary company and other cremation authorities should be transferred to designated funds.
Note 21 to the financial statements shows that after the transfers to designated funds the deficit on the Society's Unrestricted accumulated fund at 31 March 2007 amounted to £153,880. The equivalent figure for the Group was a surplus of £2,251,062. The Council recognises that the Society no longer has sufficient free reserves to underpin the smooth running of the charity and its normal activities and has been actively exploring ways in which this can be addressed. This is being addressed by the sale of Brecon House which, after buying another property from which to operate, should provide free resources adequate to underpin the work of the Society.
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 another comprehensive risk assessment exercise identifying the likelihood of any occurrence, the severity of its impact and any mitigating factors that should be taken into account.
This exercise is being implemented on an on-going basis and will be reviewed regularly.
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 £3,435,493. 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 £750,000 (2006:£800,000). The Council believes this to be a fair market value at 31 March 2007 in the light of existing open market rents and the remaining term of existing tenants' leases.
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.
Professor G.F. Woodroffe
Dr. S. Leadbeatter (Resigned 19th February 2007
A. D. McCarthy
Mrs J Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer) (Resigned 19th November 2007)
Dr S Leadbeatter's resignation, due to increased pressure of his commitments, was accepted with the utmost regret and Members wish to record their appreciation of his invaluable contribution to the work of the Society during the period that he served as a Council Member. Although no longer a Council Member it is hoped that in the future he will accept invitations to speak at Society conferences.
Our regret is as great in accepting the resignation of Mrs Jandy Stevenson after four years as our honorary Treasurer on 19 November 2007. Partner in a leading Scottish firm of accountants, she had applied her energies and professional expertise in particular to our financial management, governance and Risk Management assessment. She was a delightful member of the Council team and the Society will miss her.
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 2007 (2006:£61,200).
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|
|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.
So far as the Council is aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the group's auditors are unaware. Additionally, the Council has taken all the necessary steps that Council Members ought to have taken as Directors in order to make themselves aware of all relevant audit information and to establish that the group's auditors are aware of that information.
A resolution will be submitted to the forthcoming Annual General Meeting that Messrs. Larkings, Chartered Accountants, be re-appointed Auditors of The Society.
BY ORDER OF THE COUNCIL
Date: 30 November 2007
R.N. Arber, Secretary