FBCA – Code of Cremation Practice


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The Code of Cremation Practice was formulated by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities to set the ethical standards required for the cremation of human remains. So important are these standards that observance of the Code is a condition of membership of the Federation.  A downloadable copy of the FBCA Code of Cremation Practise is available here.

1.   Conduct:

The cremation of a human body is a highly emotional occasion for those taking part in the service.  This must never be forgotten by the staff of the Crematorium, who must combine to create and maintain an atmosphere of reverence and respect throughout the entire proceedings.

2.   Staff:

The greatest care must be taken in the appointment of members of the Crematorium staff, any of whom may, by conduct or demeanour, detract from the atmosphere of reverence which it is endeavoured to create.  All staff employed in the operation of cremators must be suitably trained in the technical and ethical procedures and certificated as specified Process Guidance Note 5/2 or any subsequent Guidance that mys be issued by the relevant Government Department.

3.   Prior To Committal:

A coffin and its contents brought to the Crematorium, whether for a service prior to cremation, a planned cremation without a service or for a service prior to burial shall be brought into the Crematorium building via the main entrance. If the coffin and its contents are to be cremated, then the coffin shall be placed onto the catafalque and transferred to the crematory in the normal way. If the service is not to take place immediately, the coffin and its contents shall be placed on the catafalque, transferred to the crematory and then placed in secure and sanitary storage within the building. If the coffin is to be removed from the building following a service prior to burial, it may be placed on trestles to allow easy removal at the end of the service.

4.   After Committal:

(a)  A body shall not be removed from the Crematorium after the Service of Committal except for a lawful purpose.

(b)  Subject to receiving the necessary Authority to Cremate, the coffin and its contents shall be put into the cremator, as soon as practicable, exactly as they have been received on the catafalque.  A body not cremated on the same day as the coffin is received at the Crematorium may only be retained on the written consent of the Applicant for cremation and in circumstances deemed necessary by the Cremation Authority, including impacts on the environment.  All bodies retained at the Crematorium will be accommodated in secure and sanitary conditions within the building.

(c)  Once the coffin with its contents has been placed in the cremator, it shall not be touched or interfered with until the process of cremation is completed.  On completion, the whole of the Cremated Remains/Ashes, which is all the material left in the cremator following cremation less any metals, shall be collected and shall be disposed of in accordance with the instructions received.

5.   Correct Identity:

(a)  No coffin shall be accepted at any crematorium unless it bears adequate particulars of the identity of the deceased person contained therein.  If a coffin is encased, the cover and the coffin must bear adequate identity of the deceased person.

(b)  Every care must be taken to ensure correct identification throughout the whole proceedings from the moment the coffin is received onto the catafalque until the final disposal of the Cremated Remains/Ashes.

6.   Separately Cremated:

Each deceased person given to the care of the Cremation Authority shall be cremated separately. Exceptions may be made for instance in the case of mother and baby or twin children providing that the next of kin has made a specific request in this regard.

7.   Coffin Covers:

When a re-useable cover is used to encase a coffin, signed authority must be given by the Applicant for the cremation authorising its use and consenting to its subsequent removal from the crematorium.

8.   Metal Residues:

Any metal found amongst the Cremated Remains/Ashes shall be disposed of in accordance with the directions of the Cremation Authority or Higher Authority.

9.   Cremated Remains/Ashes:

The utmost care shall be taken to ensure that the Cremated Remains/Ashes, following their removal from the cremator, shall be kept separate and suitably identified. The Cremated Remains/Ashes shall be placed in a separate container awaiting final disposal. If the Cremated Remains/Ashes are to be disposed of in a Garden of Remembrance, this shall be conducted with reverence and respect.  Cremated Remains/Ashes to be conveyed by a carrier service should be placed in a suitably labelled robust container and dealt with according to recommendations laid down by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.

10.   Cremators and Ancillary Equipment:

Cremators and all other ancillary equipment used in the Crematorium shall be kept in good repair and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations, and the requirements of the current guidance Notes issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or subsequent legislation.

11.   Statutory Regulations:

All cremations shall be carried out according to the provisions of the Cremation Acts and the Regulations made thereunder and any subsequent legislation.

Issued August 2017