Briefing Note for councillors: An update on our Burial Service and maintenance of open spaces
Issued to: Town Council ATCM 4th May 2020
Purpose of Report
To share an operational update on the burial service, grounds maintenance carried out over the period affected by CV-19
Contingency plans across Somerset have been developed and I am currently working very closely with Sedgemoor District Council and providing them with a weekly update. All paperwork is being processed electronically including the green death certificate. CV-19 Risk Assessments and an infection control action plan was disseminated to all grounds maintenance staff.
Local Funeral Directors have all been contacted, informing them of how we as a burial authority by adopting all government guidelines will be facilitating interments.
Our interment numbers have been average for this time of the year, however this is being closely monitored.
The three cemeteries have remained open as per government wishes and they are receiving visitors other than those attending a funeral. Funerals are exempt from the restriction on social gatherings of only two people, guidance has been issued that says that immediate family only may attend, whether this is a burial or a cremation. The staff at the cemeteries are well informed of these guidelines.
We currently have a rough sleeper in Highbridge Cemetery who is well known to people in the area including the police. His recent behaviour in the cemetery has been appalling and very anti-social, this has been reported to 101. Their advice at this stage is for people to continue to report any incidents as the more evidence they have that supports the view that, his behaviour is disruptive and harming to the community the better.
Our priorities have been to be available to support essential services such as cleansing, community organisations plus any other coronavirus related tasks that were requested, but as from this week in line with other local authorities including Weston and Bridgwater who have either continued or have re-introduced grounds maintenance in their cemeteries, we are now doing the same. It will be assessed on a weekly basis and the open spaces in the Towns will also be looked at and maintained where necessary. At this time it is prudent to take the lead from Sedgemoor; it would not be sensible to be cutting our small amount of open spaces until Sedgemoor have started to do the same.
Perhaps surprisingly, we have had only one reported incident of rubbish/fly tipping. This is very encouraging from our residents and businesses and can only conclude that they are ‘storing’ their rubbish until the recycling centres are open.
Report author: Lorna Williams – Deputy Clerk
Report Date: 1st May 2020