The ICCM moves forward together in Oxford

Nov 3, 2016 | 1 comment

This week, October 31 – November 2nd, the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management met in the Oxford Belfry Hotel in the UK and had their ‘Learning Convention and Exhibition 2016’. The Theme was ‘Forward Together’.

Outgoing president, Martin Birch, lead his speech with the message that “change is necessary to stay relevant” and that it will be the public who lead the change. ecoLegacy alumni Pat McCann, Steve Smith and Tony Ennis attended the very revealing three day convention, with the subject of ecoLegacy opening the event on the second day.
A speaker that caught our attention at the convention was Fran Hall from the Good Funeral Guide. With over 32,000 visitors per year to the website, the idea that initially began with Charles Cowling, has gone from strength to strength in 2016 with Fran at the helm. She’s only six months in and a trustee of the Natural Death Centre. Louise Winter joins her as Director of the GFG, who they say “establishes Funeral Director accreditation: and is an “industry assurance” or stamp of approval in the form of their logo. They do Audits by effectively ‘becoming’ the client, however they claim to work with the industry and should not be seen as the enemy. They work with the good Funeral homes while unashamedly calling out the bad ones.
Judith Bernstein, who is Head of Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy at the Ministry of Justice, closed the first day of the event with an overview of both burial and cremation.
Brendan Day spoke about success in the industry. He was cognisant of the fact that the industry needs and challenges have changed and to be a success we also need to welcome alternatives. He went so far as to say that it was the “first convention in 30 years where you can feel things are changing”. He gave ecoLegacy a generous verbal ‘pat on the back’ during his time at the podium.
Then Tim Morris, the ICCM CEO did a presentation on Funeral costs, discussing the slight overall fall in costs but sharp rise in number of deaths, there were 33,000 more in 2016 than 2015. Funeral Poverty was an issue clearly highlighted by Tim with concerns that Brexit may overthrow any time that Westminster could afford the topic. A lot done, more to do was the overall message.
The event had a plethora of unique speakers with differing opinions and attitudes that we can’t mention them all. Also in the line up, David Adams gave an interesting talk on bereavement, Richard Barradell discussed coffin accreditation, specifically in relation to safety for cremation and ash content and Charles Howlett who spoke about Cremators and new energy efficient ways for Cremation while also mentioning the future and ecoLegacy.
In summary, the event was a truly insightful one for ecoLegacy and great to get endorsements from yet more leaders in the industry. As the last industry event we will be attending in 2016, we look forward to 2017 and learning, hearing and seeing more developments across this industry.