Cemetery Policies on Grave Use

We need to think about what the policy is for the use of graves, and how you wish to number the graves. 

With Scribe Cemetery you can scan and maintain your copies of records, photos and documents.

You also need to maintain records of:

  • Memorial safety testing records, and carry out regular stability testing and safety audits
  • Register of licences to place and retain memorials on graves
  • Memorial design, inscription and specification records
  • Health and Safety records (NAMM Code of Working Practice and BRAMM Blue Book)
  • Ensure grave owners are aware of their responsibilities
  • Periodically reviewing the terms and conditions applied to the right to erect and maintain memorials
  • Decouple the grant of exclusive rights of burial from the licence to erect a memorial on a grave
  • Make a memorial licence renewal conditional upon regular safety checks and repairs
  • Enforce cemetery rules and regulations, and ensuring these can be consistently and impartially applied by future councils

All whilst being aware of the changing Data Protection laws in the Data Protection Acts 1998/2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (operative May 2018).

We have been advised by Alan Fairchild of the SLCC as of 05/11/17:

  • Personal data of deceased persons held by burial authorities is excluded from DPA 1998 and GDPR/DPA 2018
  • Personal data of living persons recorded in the Register of Grants (of Exclusive Rights of Burial) is subject to public inspection under Part 11, Schedule 2 of LACO 77 and can be held without consent in compliance with legal obligation. (Article 6, GDPR)
  • From May 2018 processing of other personal burial data by the Data Controller must be necessary to perform the task in the public interest, otherwise consent is needed.
You will already have a system for numbering, and this can be mirrored in Scribe Cemetery.

For most graves you will enter 1 or 2 as the capacity of each grave for the cemetery, meaning a maximum of two burials could occur in any one grave.  By grave we mean one space on the ground-plan, with one burial on top of another. This is perfectly possible under the regulations in most normal ground conditions. Some cemeteries may prefer to only have one burial per grave, in which case the capacity would be set to 1. In areas such as those set aside for cremated remains, you might have 3 or 4 burials of ashes side by side in a space the size of a full coffin burial. Some cemeteries will allow cremated remains to be buried in the same space as an earlier coffin burial, and under the Regulations you can add ashes even if the grave is full for further coffin burials.

In Scribe terms the capacity of 2 refers to coffin burials, so you could still add ashes later.

Traditionally many graves are ‘double’, typically husband and wife side by side, and sometimes kerbed as one double grave. We would consider this to be two graves with one burial in each, and it is not the same as two burials in one grave, vertically.

If a deceased person does not possess an exclusive right of burial, it is possible that they may be buried in a public grave rather than a private grave, or a shared grave along with other burials of people unknown to them. The practices will depend on the pressures of space in the cemetery and perhaps whether many indigent burials are needed.

So many possibilities exist, and you need to be able to explain your policy and to understand how the physical nature of the cemetery determines the depth of the burial, or the first burial, in any grave. In Scribe Cemetery we talk about the ‘grave’ or ‘grave space’ as being the single basic unit as seen on a plan from above, and the ‘burial’ (or burials) as being what takes place within that grave space.

For grave numbering, you may number the cemetery from 1 to xxx, or number in rows e.g A, B, C, starting at 1 in each. Either of those numbering systems may apply to the whole cemetery, or you may have different rules in different parts (Cemetery Areas). In Scribe Cemetery burials will not be numbered individually, even if there are multiple burials in one grave, because it is the grave number which ties everything together.

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