Date published: 01 December 2021
Rochdale families who want their loved ones’ funerals to be webcast will have to pay for the service starting next year.
During the Covid pandemic, the council did not charge a fee for broadcasting the funeral, allowing mourners to pay their respects and watch the funeral from a distance.
But with restrictions on the number of funerals now lifted, the council plans to introduce a Â£ 30 fee from April 2022.
Currently, the local authority has to pay a fee of Â£ 20 per webcast, which is paid from the existing bereavement services budget.
A council report reads: âIt is not a requirement for mourners to webcast the service, but an option.
“During the pandemic, about two-thirds of services opted for webcasting, but this may now reduce restrictions on numbers that have been lifted.”
The proposal is expected to generate Â£ 10,000 per year for the authority.
At a recent cabinet meeting, Councilor Danny Meredith expressed concern that restrictions could be imposed again following the introduction of the webcasting charge.
Chief Executive Steve Rumbelow said such a scenario would be a case where council policies are superseded by a government decision.
He said: “If that were to happen, it would probably be – it has been in the past – that it would be dictated by national regulations,” he said.
âIf there are lock-in-type provisions in place to restrict the number, that will override our policy. “
Councilor John Blundell then asked if the authority could cancel the charge in a new foreclosure scenario.
âThe law won’t necessarily say that you have to provide free funeral webcasts,â he said.
“So if not, can we just delete that, on purpose?” “
Mr Rumbelow replied that the council would have to make a political decision on the matter if this situation arose.
Rochdale City Council is proposing to increase all of its fees and charges by 2% from April next year – with a few exceptions, including parking, taxi licenses and garage sales.
This general increase – and the proposed exceptions – were approved for consultation by cabinet members.
Senior advisers also approved the introduction of a new funeral services webcasting fee, which will come into effect at the start of fiscal year 2022/23.
The Rochdale Council Cabinet met at Number One Riverside on Tuesday, November 23.
Nick Statham, local democracy journalist