Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 12th July 2018
Title of Item/Report
Place Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of Management of Memorials
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that presented the outcomes of the Place Select Committee's review of Management of Memorials.


1. There be a continuation of the current Grave Personalisation Policy (GPP) (incorporating the ‘soft' enforcement approach) in the five existing Borough cemeteries.

2. Further work with memorial masons be undertaken to emphasise the problems with unauthorised professionally-fixed kerb sets and the impact of these on all cemetery-users, and for appropriate action to be taken against masons who knowingly sell items which are not approved or permitted in the Borough's cemeteries.

3. A separate, distinct policy be adopted for the offer of different grave types, initially in the new Durham Road cemetery extension (to operate in tandem with the current GPP), and for this to be effectively communicated to all cemetery-users before, and robustly enforced following, implementation. This would require:

a) a thorough programme of awareness-raising across the Borough to inform relevant organisations within the funeral industry (e.g. funeral directors, memorial masons, North Tees Mortuary & Bereavement Team) and the public of these plans.

b) the Registrars of Births and Deaths to work in partnership with the Bereavement Team. Registrars, following the registration of the death, to advise an informant who is choosing burial of the burial options available to them, thus allowing the family to be aware of what options are available to them prior to meeting with their chosen funeral director / funeral organiser.

c) exploring the potential of widening the colour choice for the grave collars.

d) an evaluation of the grave collar concept to be provided to the Place Select Committee prior to any potential further roll-out in other extensions to existing or new Borough cemeteries.

4. Communication takes place with relevant local media outlets regarding the GPP (current and for the new concept), and the challenges to the Council around grave personalisation, in order to avoid future misrepresentation of situations.
Reasons for the Decision
The report presents the findings of the scrutiny review of Management of Memorials which was part of the 2017-2018 scrutiny work programme, and continued into 2018-2019.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillor Steve Nelson declared a personal prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 - Place Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of Management of Memorials as family members were affected by the recommendations contained within the report. Councillor Steve Nelson withdrew from the meeting and left the room during consideration of the item.
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 20 July 2018.

Date of Publication: 16 July 2018

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