Another Co-op distancing statment

Charles 22 Comments

‘TAMWORTH Co-op has spoken out to reassure people that its funeral services are a ‘million miles’ from the disturbing images depicted in an undercover Channel 4 investigation.

Julian Coles, chief executive of the Tamworth Co-op, says “We are an entirely independent, comparatively small and traditional Co-operative, operating from several funeral premises in the area we serve.”‘

How they must regret having adopted Funeralcare branding. 



  1. Charles

    and yes Charles quite right too

    your clip follows on from my post from their website two days ago

    I’m sure that quite rightly the very decent folks at Tamworth wanted to get this story in their local rag pdq but it can only surely help their cause if they are ‘able’ to remove the funeralcare banner from the outside of that shop and ‘like now’, if it’s feasible


  2. Charles

    and here’s an extract from the 2009/10 Southern Coop annual review, following their decision to joyfully embrace the ‘funeralcare brand:-

    “As part of the wider Southern Co-operative decision to adopt the national branding, we have decided to re-brand all of our funeral homes. Paulsgrove became the pilot for the new national co-operative funeralcare branding in May 2009. This highly recognisable brand carries national strength which, when combined with our regional expertise in service delivery, will support the further development of
    our business”

    ……right, bet the folks at Southern’s terrifically styled ‘End of Life Services’ are now having the odd sleepless night………

    and as the days roll on, this blog is yet to receive any post regarding Mr Steve Pearce of Southern Coop vis a vis his role at the NAFD (my earlier blog refers) and anything at all regarding the transparency of their ‘other’ funeral shops, that’s shops not funeral homes, as they of course operate the ‘hub principle’ too


  3. Charles

    We have to wonder how the President of the NAFD can also be the boss of Southern Co-op Funeralcare when it faces such serious charges?

  4. Charles

    Hello Mr Mott

    I blogged on this vein last week on here………….and suggested that the resignation of all NAFD senior officials (who are employed by f’care or their associates) should certainly be contemplated – any steps taken by NAFD to defend their membership, i.e. f’care, clearly place said officials in the zone of a clear conflict of interest

    and certainly there will be a complaint to NAFD regarding last week’s developments



  5. Charles

    and so it came to pass that the NAFD pronounce the following on themselves:-

    “….The National Association of Funeral Directors is a truly independent Trade Association with the broadest membership within the funeral profession…..[and also]

    “….The Association represents the funeral profession at all levels of Government in respect of legislation and campaigns on issues affecting not only funeral directors, but also the bereaved. We provide informed opinion to Parliamentarians, Government agencies and consumer groups on all funeral matters…”

    right so, here’s the potential for a significant conflict, yes very much so….

    and while I’m on my proverbial, perhaps NAFD should seriously consider revoking funeralcare’s membership….?? Yes


  6. Charles

    Hi Nick

    My take on this is that, other Co-ops ‘enjoy’ having the benefit of the ‘funeralcare brand’ emblazonned across their shops and sites but still retain control of the profits from these operations



  7. Charles


    and so they presumably use their corporate literature, leaflets, coffin brochures, etc.,

    Makes you think that those affiliates of the co-op that have kept their identities as covert as possible have actually come out of this recent “spat” in front of their branded “rivals”.

    They, no doubt, will be equally distancing themselves at a faster rate of knots than the “independent” branded branches.

    It’s all very much like a game of chess.


  8. Charles

    Yes Nick and quite right too

    and coincidentally your post has been received at a very convenient time indeed and to quote you (if I may)”….Makes you think that those affiliates of the co-op that have kept their identities as covert as possible…”

    and moving a little sideways, we all know that funeralcare have become investing in Crems, either new or old but here is a very interesting little piece regarding the actual ownership of East Devon Crematorium Ltd, which opened it’s furnace for business last year. FSJ ‘the industry bible’ announced this good news here –

    and “…..The new facility is privately owned and operated by East Devon Crematorium Ltd, which was formed by Cornwall-based Chris Johns, a past president of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Managemen”…..[and]…..”His business partners are investors; chairman Jeremy Sharman, finance director Steve Sheridan and The Southern Co-operative, one of the independent regional Co-op societies…..” Well that’s not strictly so, as the ‘investment’ was made by South of England Funeral Partners Ltd, a subsidiary of Southern Co-op and as at 28 January 2012, the amount loaned by South of England FP to East Devon Crem Ltd was a mighty £3,867,000, an increase of no less than £2,099,000 since January 2011. And to quote also from what is available on the web “……Interest is receivable on the loan at a rate of 4.5% during the construction phasing increasing to 5% in the 1st trading year and then in 1% increments to 8% in the fourth and subsequent trading years”. A very decent rate of return, shares are also held in East Devon Crem Ltd

    and all of which has been confirmed in the most recent report to ‘shareholders’ (sic) in the End of Life Services section of Southern’s annual news. At least there’s transparency regarding investment but why outside of their natural trading habitat?

    So Southern Co-op/End of Life Services, praise for you but WHY do you have to hide your named branches away without the transparency – come clean please?


  9. Charles

    ….and so having given Southern Coop some time in this blog, I thought that I would take a peek at another Society

    Yes, this time it’s the East of England outfit who have starred so shamefully in this blog during the past couple of years. Their funeral operations Manager is one Mark Adams DipFD, who has been in the press commenting on said sad misfortunes

    It would also seem (or it was for 2010/11) that Mr Adams was on the NAFD ‘Code of Practice Committee’, not sure if he still is though

    Now I believe that East of England are separate from funeralcare, yet their holding Company has made a significant loan or investment in the CWS Group, owners of f’care

    so in the absence of any comment from NAFD as to those senior persona near the top of their tree, I would add this little aspect. Inevitably East of England funerals are NAFD members – now can they have one of their Executives in a senior Management position at NAFD when NAFD is supposed to do the necessary regulation?

    another potential conflict, yes?


  10. Charles

    This is getting a little confusing.

    Co-operative Funeralcare MD, George Tinning is telling us that his company undertakes 100,000 funerals a year, with a turnover of circa £51m per annum.

    Cutting to the chase, the various regional co-ops appear to be falling over themselves to put as much distance between themselves and Mr Tinning’s operation.

    “a million miles away….totally different operation….we are not THAT funeralcare”.

    So, am I to believe that the £51m, 100,000 figures claimed by Messrs Tinning & co are NOT inclusive of the branded-but-independents’ turnover?

    Or are they?

    This is worthy of a Spike Jones makeover.

    P.s. Please accept that I have personally no axe to grind with any Co-operative operation. Every contact has been both professional, and friendly. I have found their staff more than helpful, and sincerely appreciate their assistance.

    I am, however, very confused as to the corporate “balance” of the entire operation.


  11. Charles

    thanks Nick

    well yes it is more than a little confusing and indeed Mr T is clearly the one to confirm exactly what funeralcare does and does not do, ahem, no pun really intended

    there are a number of Companies registered at F’Care Towers and I see absolutely no reason why Mr T or one of his many colleagues shouldn’t fully clarify the set-up



  12. Charles


    It’s not turnover of 50odd M it’s ‘profit’

    For the 2011 financial year ‘Net Revenue’ for the f’care division was £328m (i.e. ‘turnover’) and the profits were £53.6m, an increase in percentage terms of £20.4% over the previous year when the profits were £44.5m. If part of this arises ‘from economies of scale’ how is it, I ask that f’care funerals are the most expensive?

    Bearing in mind all that the co-operative movement is supposed to stand for and encompassing the happy happy happy community feel, these profits are nothing over than totally excessive, irrespective of whether this amount is pre or post Corporation Tax



  13. Charles

    ….and as I’ve already said, taking that amount of profit, it’s fairly poor (and I’m being entirely charitable here) that more staff are not employed at the hubs, after all and to quote an earlier comment, ‘it’s profits before people’

    given that they’re dealing with clients at ‘their lowest ebb’………….well I’ll leave it to others to comment on the morals and ethics of that one


  14. Charles


    Does your single minded attitude actually understand where the co-operative group (including funeralcares) profits go?

    I suggest you research this and find the answer!

    When you do please come back and let us know.

  15. Charles

    And whilst you discuss morals and ethics I have to assume you think your morals and ethics are much higher than others?

    You have me interested now.

    How much profit do you make?

    Where do your profits go?

  16. Charles

    Dear Mr C Walker

    Thankyou for your comments

    I am not engaged in a similar business, yes I probbaly have the single minded attitude but there are some very strong reasons for that



  17. Charles

    Dear Mr Walker

    and following my recent post, clearly you can tell me/us where said profits go, so let’s hear from you please?



  18. Charles

    Dear Mr Walker

    I shall look forward to your reply with interest

    In the meantime, it isn’t solely a question of where the profits are ‘distributed to’, it’s also ‘how those profits are achieved’. Quite clearly, ‘selling unrequired products’ accounts for part, not least their overall (very high) prices when compared to the remainder of the industry

    And yes I am very sole minded (and I need to be), take a look at Charles’ more recent blog title ‘wrongun’ and you will see part of what constantly angers me about this goliath of the death trade…………



  19. Charles


    Thank you for you reply. Just one question….. What makes you think I’m a Mr? Oh sorry I can probably guess why you think that!

    I am also not engaged in this business however I do support the co-operatives ethics and how they do business. All profits made are invested back into the businesses or shared out to members. You may be a member? If not I’m sure some people who have made comment on this site are.

    If the profits businesses make are reinvested to Improve the service given, is that not a good thing?

    I’m sure this can’t be said for individuals who own there own business.

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