Providing better Cemetery and Crematorium services for residents in Barnet

Re is responsible for running the Cemetery and Crematorium service on behalf of Barnet Council conducting over 250 burials and over 1,000 cremations each year.

Since taking management of the service Re has transformed a poorly performing business in an extremely competitive market, increasing market share by 38% and making significant improvements to the facilities and quality of sevices available to bereaved families.

Hendon team photo

Background

Barnet is the second largest London borough by population with over 369,500 inhabitants and covers an area of 86.74 square kilometres. Residents in Barnet have access to five cemeteries and crematoria in the borough.

Barnet Council entered into a Joint Venture (JV) with Capita in 2013. Re (Regional Enterprise) was established to improve and deliver a range of services. Together Re and Barnet Council are providing new ways to deliver services to customers in order to meet the needs of the local community.

The team at Hendon are responsible for providing high quality, efficient, responsive, sensitive and sympathetic services to the bereaved and all users of the site. This involves providing; cremation and burial services, grave selection and associated memorialisation, plus the maintenance and attractive presentation of 42 acres of cemetery and gardens.

Prior to Re taking over the service, fewer residents in Barnet were choosing Hendon cemetery and crematorium services, with the number of cremations falling from over 1,200 per year in 2009 to around 650 by 2013. Research found residents and funeral directors were choosing other cemeteries in the borough as they were offering a more personable service and wider choices both pre and post funerals.

Solution

  • Installed new technology, enabling family and friends to watch the funeral via a secure we stream if they are unable to be there in person;
  • Invested over £25k to offer a wider choice of granite memorials around the crematorium; including memorials in which to store cremated remains;
  • Completed improvement works in the grounds, including repairs to potholes, repairing 305 square meters of roads, relaying and re-levelling uneven flower display and ornamental paving areas (£25) and investing in tree repair work (£130k);
  • Invested £35k in a new burial and cremation administration system IT system, allowing funeral directors to make bookings directly online, providing a more efficient and responsive service; enabling us to grow the business without increasing staffing numbers;
  • Made £15k worth of improvements to the onsite drainage system, preventing the main driveway from flooding;
  • Installed a fully-integrated fire alarm system to all buildings around the premises;
  • Improved the ventilation in the crematorium to reduce room temperature;
  • Introduced a fully digital sound and audion system for both chapels;
  • Digitalised all burial and cremation records (in partnership with Ancestry.co.uk) to make the retrieval of information simpler

Benefits for Barnet

The increase in people choosing to use Hendon has enabled Barnet to increase their market share by 38%, resulting in increased revenue.

In 2015 the team achieved the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) Charter for the Bereaved Silver Award. In April 2016, the team acheived the prestigious Gold Award, demonstrating the highest possible standards in cemetery and cremation management.