Friday 15 November 2019
Crewe Hall, Crewe
Bereavement services, despite being high profile council services, are still under increasing pressure to become self-sustaining commercial ventures. In a time of austerity, local authorities continue to find their budgets shrinking and, as such, managers and staff alike are having to look for ways to compensate against these losses, either through service efficiencies, generating new sources of income, or innovative service delivery methodologies, whilst still taking into account the vulnerability of their service users.
More recently, greater pressure is being placed on bereavement services to demonstrate that their services are affordable and not exploiting the bereaved, particularly at a time when funeral poverty is making daily headlines.
The service area is also facing changing cultural requirements as well as being held responsible for caring for the environments in which their services work. For example the historical value of cemeteries and their assets is being increasingly recognised and, therefore, action plans and digitised records are having to be put in place to manage these spaces.
Added to this catalogue of responsibilities is the need to meet a long list of new and current legislative demands.
But, whilst these challenges have to be met, the heart of the service is still to ensure it considers its customers’ needs during the most vulnerable time in their lives.
Service delivery is therefore having to change. APSE recognises this need and, through the provision of this seminar and its wider networking services, APSE can help elected members, managers and officers hear examples of how these changes can be brought about. The aim of the seminar is to highlight best practice and innovation, which, together, will prove invaluable to the development of future bereavement services.
Delegates will learn about:
• How the Scottish government has produced guidance on funeral costs for local authorities and funeral directors in order to help improve service transparency for the bereaved
• Will grave re-use become a real option? And how to deal with the complexities of ascertaining grave ownership
• The importance of customer relation systems to retaining and gaining future business
• The importance of producing action plans for graveyard conservation and the benefits this can bring to a wide range of stakeholders
• How the introduction of an innovative collect and return pets cremation service can not only bring additional income but also wider service benefits
• How to deal with unauthorised memorials and memorabilia and the need to protect front-line staff when enforcing the associated memorial rules and regulations
• How the face of the traditional funeral is changing and the opportunities this can offer to local authorities
It is hoped delegates will take away ideas and experiences which will help services become more sustainable and ready to meet future opportunities and challenges.
The conference is planned to allow time for debate and questions as well as giving delegates the chance to meet exhibitors of products and services which will help bereavement managers in delivering higher quality services.