FENLAND: Charging for 'premium' plots in cemeteries may boost coffers at district council

PUBLISHED: 14:17 02 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010

Vandals damage graves at Eastwood cemetery March

Vandals damage graves at Eastwood cemetery March

By John Elworthy A BID to make more cash out if its cemeteries- including charging extra for premium plots and providing plots for differing faiths-is to be considered by Fenland councillors. A report drawn up as part of the council s efficiency agenda h

By John Elworthy

A BID to make more cash out if its cemeteries- including charging extra for premium plots and providing plots for differing faiths-is to be considered by Fenland councillors.

A report drawn up as part of the council's efficiency agenda has revealed that cemeteries could provide the local authority with extra funds.

Anna Goodall, business efficiency manager, outlines her findings in a report to this week's overview and scrutiny committee.

She said the cemeteries service and democratic services were the initial two service areas subject to the efficiency review process.

"As a result it is within these services that beneficial outcomes resulting from the efficiency reviews are most tangible," she says.

She said longer term recommendations include "revising the structure of new cemeteries to enable the district council to offer premium plots, maximising income potential as well as providing plots for differing faiths". This, she argued, would better reflect the demographic make up of Fenland.

"It is also recommended that burial plots are marked out in advance of purchase with concrete plinths so customers are able to see exactly what they are purchasing," says Ms Goodall.

"This strategy also serves to maximise the assets of the district council as plots will not be sold on an ad hoc basis whilst also ensuring the longevity of future memorial stones as all plots would have a solid foundation suitable for the installation of any memorial."

She says customer satisfaction within the cemeteries services has in the past been relatively low but she expects the elimination of "cumbersome paper based processes" to improve the service. New software will automate most processes and also automate renewal notices to plot owners "enhancing the potential income generation and maximising the assets of the district council".

A council spokesman said the cemeteries review will discussed internally by the council in coming weeks before going to a Cabinet and council meeting.


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