Our grounds offer families and visitors a beautiful and peaceful environment.
CONTENTS CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
CEO’S REVIEW OF OPERATIONS
MANAGEMENT & HR REPORTS
EASTERN SUBURBS MEMORIAL PARK ORGANISATION STRUCTURE
Chairman’s | report It is my pleasure on behalf of my fellow Board members of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Trusts to report that the year 2007/08 has been another solid year of deliverables by the Park’s management. Under the stewardship of our CEO, George Passas, the improvements throughout the year have resulted in positive feedback from customers and visitors, and the Park’s staff is to be congratulated on their achievements.
Corporate Governance In keeping with the Board’s ongoing commitment to good governance and our desire to provide a fully transparent and compliant process in all our dealings, the Board assessed its overall performance on a whole-of-Board basis. The process highlighted the harmoniousness of the Board’s decision-making and dealings with management and that there were no significant issues to be addressed. Any suggestions for where there might be room for improvement were embraced proactively by the Board. Significant progress was made during the year on adding to the list of Board policies and I am happy to report that a further 14 policies were approved for inclusion in the Board’s Corporate Governance Policies. These policies are invaluable in assisting the Board in acting with consistency and confidence in its dealings.
Board Composition The Board formally welcomed Rod Neville as a member in August 2007 following the retirement of Greg Taylor. Rod has proved to be an energetic Trustee with a significant insight into the affairs of local government and planning matters.
Finance and Operations Despite increasing competition ESMP’s management team and staff has delivered another strong financial result which has enabled the operations and maintenance programme to be delivered with confidence and without incidence. The Board is pleased with the many positive remarks left at the office from satisfied visitors, customers and family members regarding the Park’s facilities and operations.
Training and Development In keeping with its commitment to remain well informed and up-to-date on matters of importance, all Trustees undertook some form of development activities related to governance; attendance at industry conferences or events, or both.
and include quarterly Memorial Programmes, quarterly Memorial Mass, the annual Crematorium Open Day and All Soul’s Day Mass.
Into the Future The Board is very pleased that staff continues to exceed the expectations of our customers. However, we are conscious that we are stewards of a finite resource. In response to the NSW Department of Lands’ call for submissions in relation to its Report: Sustainable burials in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan area, the Board responded in support of all options raised. The CEO and I also attended the public meeting held in early June at the State Library where the matters were discussed at length with many communities attending. It is our opinion that it is critical that the NSW Government act quickly to address the important matter of the shortage of burial space in Sydney, including in the eastern suburbs. As a part of its Report, the Department of Lands is assessing all available crown lands under its jurisdiction. As a result of this and much community concern, the Board has called for the assessment of any available lands in the eastern suburbs for consideration as additional cemetery space. We are quietly confident that common sense will prevail and some additional land will be found to accommodate the concerns of the many communities we serve.
Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all my fellow Trustees who are of tremendous support and whose input has ensured carriage of another successful year for ESMP. In particular, I am grateful to Ron Greenstein, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and Stelios Coudounaris, Chair of the Planning and Works Committee. Both Committees have run busy agenda during the year and their considered and timely advice has led to more effective decisions by the Board.
Capital Works The Board is pleased with the progression of items on its agenda for delivery by management and of the many projects that have been completed as outlined in our Manager Site Operations Report. Having also completed the tender process for construction of the new café, flower shop and condolence rooms, the Board now looks forward to its completion in April 2009. The project has been awarded to Stephen Edwards Constructions Pty Ltd, a firm which is known to many having completed a number of quality projects throughout Sydney in their 35 years in business. With approvals now in place for various planned projects, highlighted in the capital expenditures section of our CEO’s report, the Board is very pleased with the progression of these items on its agenda and management’s ongoing commitment to meeting ESMP’s strategic objectives. The Board is also pleased with the preliminary marketing work commenced in relation to Stage 1 of the proposed crypts and vaults extension, which will provide the Italian community options for their preference for above-ground interment, and with the completion of the new Jewish burial area, consecrated under the auspices of the Sydney Beth Din shortly before this report was completed.
Community Events Throughout the year ESMP hosted community events to aid families who have lost loved ones. All are very well patronised and embraced by the eastern suburbs community
My thanks also go to Russell McLay, Deputy Chair, who has been available to discuss matters arising as required throughout the year. I also wish to acknowledge, the extensive efforts of all ESMP staff, in particular those of our CEO, George Passas, for his unwavering focus and drive to achieve the operational and strategic plans and value-adding approach to all matters.
Conclusion The Board and I take heart that our efforts are similarly acknowledged in the level of interest that families take in our facilities and products which, in turn, allows us to serve all the better through consistent maintenance and upkeep.
John Douglas Morrison OAM, JP
Trustees/Board of Directors Left to Right: Stelios Coudounaris, Rod Neville, Russell McLay, Ron Greenstein, John Morrison, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, Jack Walker
Finance and Audit Committee Left to Right: Russell McLay, George Passas (Sec), Ron Greenstein, Rod Neville, John Morrison
Planning and Works Committee Left to Right: John Morrison, George Passas (Sec), Stelios Coudounaris, Jack Walker, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons
Planning & Works Committee
Finance & Audit Committee
Leave of Absence
10 of 11
3 of 4
5 of 5
11 of 11
5 of 5
11 of 11
5 of 5
8 of 11
3 of 4
9 of 11
4 of 4
10 of 11
4 of 5
Jack Walker, JP
10 of 11
4 of 4
George Passas, FCPA, FCIS, FAICD
11 of 11
4 of 4
5 of 5
Trustee/Director John Morrison, OAM, JP Chairman
Russell McLay, BComm Deputy Chairman
Ron Greenstein, PhC, JP Chair Finance and Audit Committee
Stelios Coudounaris Chair Planning and Works Committee
Appointed August 2007
Secretary & CEO
CEO’s | review
Introduction The 2007-08 year, for the Trustees and Management of the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (ESMP), has been another successful one and can be best chronicled as a year of further consolidation and quiet, yet substantial, financial and operational achievement. Positioning is now in place for commencement of a number of substantial projects which have been on the Board’s agenda for delivery next year and, as a result, from the early part of next financial year ESMP will be a hive of activity.
Activity Statistics During the year ESMP assisted families with a total of 2,126 services conducted: being 661 burials and 1,465 cremations (2006/07: 622 and 1,401 respectively). Crematorium memorialisation achieved was a total of 465 memorials being placed in our grounds to accommodate the interment of ashes (2006/07: 529). This represented 31.7% of cremations performed. There is still, sadly, a large tendency for families to simply take the remains of loved ones off premises without a commitment to memorialisation. ESMP staff have continued to work diligently to inform families of the various options available in an attempt to stem this practice. It is Management’s desire to continue to maintain the grounds in an exemplary fashion, and to offer families affordable options to memorialise loved ones.
Financial Matters The challenging economic environment has certainly impacted on ESMP’s operations but, despite economic conditions, the financial results were very pleasing. Highlights are as follows: 2007/08 $000
Surplus from Operations
Income from Investments
Major Operating Expenditures: • Employment/Remuneration • Maintenance of facilities/operations
*Overall surplus reduced in 2007/08 due to increased investment in infrastructure improvements, reduced pre-need sales and lack of available crypts and vaults. My thanks go to John Cottee and Mohammad Shahidullah for ensuring the smooth working of the Finance and Administration Department. This enables all at ESMP, myself and the Board included, to conduct their work with confidence and in the knowledge that the financial systems and processes in place properly and effectively support and reflect our endeavours.
Governance & Managing Risk ESMP is a NSW State Government instrumentality and, as such, must operate within the highest levels of probity and compliance. Our affairs are overseen by a trustee board of seven members who are appointed by the Minister for Lands for terms of five years. The next appointment date is in July, 2009. Trust members elect a Chairman, a Deputy Chairman and Chairs of the Board’s Committees each year at the Annual General Meeting. Assisting the Board in achieving its stewardship and review responsibilities, by way of their own charters, are the following committees:
Audit and Finance Committee – the Committee’s responsibilities also include risk management, financial and legislative compliance as well as budget oversight,
financial performance, capital expenditure analysis and investment management. Ron Greenstein chaired the committee throughout the year; Planning and Works Committee – assists the board to oversee major contract works and advises on the use of new and existing maintenance resources. Stelios Coudounaris chaired the committee throughout the year; and Executive Committee – comprises the Board Chair (who also chairs the Committee), the Deputy Chair and Chairs of the Audit and Finance and Planning and Works Committee. The Committee deals with trustee or board referrals, remuneration matters in relation to the CEO and senior staff and any other matter considered appropriate by the Board.
The Board has adopted: • the NSW Government sector Code of Conduct (modified in part); • an annual whole-of-board assessment; • a comprehensive list of corporate governance policies, which are subject to ongoing review; and • a process to assist in the ongoing management of its affairs and stewardship of the Park’s activities. Additionally, through the Board’s carriage of the strategic planning process and its ultimate responsibility for occupational health and safety and identification of risks, operational and financial risks are identified and reported on a continual basis via Hazard and Incident Reports which are delegated to staff members for carriage to mitigation or resolution. These are reported to both board and committee level on an ongoing basis.
Occupational Health and Safety I am pleased to report that no major incidents were reported during the year for either employees or visitors. There have been a small number of minor incidents reported and these have been successfully resolved at source.
Customer Service ESMP continues to rank highly in our customer satisfaction surveys. The ongoing surveys, together with a “mystery shopping” programme instituted throughout the year, ensure that any service issues or opportunities are embraced quickly and folded into our daily routines and customer-related documentation. This ongoing approach to improvement in service excellence has, again, resulted in many positive remarks and tributes being received by the customer service group, as cited in the Manager, Customer Services report. My thanks are extended to John Vogel, Manager, Customer Services; Angela Kalomiros, Team Leader Customer Services, and all of the Customer Service team for their tremendous efforts throughout the year.
Staffing Matters ESMP’s strength is our people. Whether they be involved in face-to-face interaction with families, administration roles, management or grounds staff, all are equally important in ensuring the fulfillment of the organisation’s goals. My management team and I are committed to attracting, developing and retaining quality staff. In recent years we have had: • relatively stable staff numbers; • good mix of female-to-male staff; • an excellent workplace occupational health and safety record; • a review in the way we compile operational and human resource-related policies and procedures; and • an integrated, targeted and structured training programme to cater to the needs of grounds, customer service and management personnel. We continue to be very capably served by the Consultgroup Pty Ltd, in particular Mr Peter Kaye, Principal Consultant, who provides effective, focused and contemporary human resources services to ESMP through an outsourcing agreement.
Operations Review In keeping with the Board’s and management’s desire to maintain our substantial grounds at a high level of aesthetic, visual and peaceful appeal for visitors and families, the Operations Department has been busy all year doing the things that, simply, needed to be done. Tony Brown, Site Operations Manager, with the assistance of Don Grant, Grounds Supervisor, ably managed an extensive list of achievements, highlighted in his report. All grounds and crematorium staff have undertaken their tasks with diligence and a sense of achievement. The beauty of the Park speaks for itself and my thanks go to all concerned.
7 Aside from the ongoing maintenance work undertaken throughout the year, next year promises to be another very busy year with a number of projects due to come to fruition.
Capital Expenditure Following approval, the following projects are due to be commenced next financial year: • the new café, flower shop and retail shop, and condolence functions rooms; • a new Asian memorial area which will provide an array of memorialisation options for the significant eastern suburbs Asian communities; • extended parking facilities for visitors to the crematorium and surrounding grounds; and • installation of two large non-potable water collection/storage tanks which will greatly assist with irrigation in our South Western precinct.
Strategic Plan Whilst some significant elements of the ESMP strategic plan have been reported above and are now under way, Management and the Board have revisited elements of the initial 2005-2008 document. The result is a more comprehensive plan entitled 2005-2010 Strategic Plan: Blueprint for Future Growth. The Board and I will continue to implement and refine the Plan’s focus and priorities with annual reviews with Management.
The Future Recently, as a follow-up to its Stakeholder Discussion Paper 2005: Burial Space in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan area, the NSW Government, via the Minister of Lands, released the Report: Sustainable burials in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan area. The Board and I responded, together with staff members, to the latest report. The Chairman and I also attended the public meeting held in early June at the State Library where many other Trusts and community groups were represented. The shortage of burial space in metropolitan Sydney is an issue which requires timely action on behalf of the NSW Government. The Board and I have been active in discussions with the Government to review available crown lands in the eastern suburbs, in line with the Discussion Paper and Report, and to consider other related matters, such as the concept of renewable tenure as a means by which to address the worsening situation in the eastern suburbs and in greater Sydney generally. It is critical that the many communities in the eastern suburbs that ESMP provides comfort to be given the additional surety that their loved ones can be interred locally and, on their behalf, has urged the NSW Government to give proper consideration to this important matter.
Conclusion It is with pride that I have reflected upon the many achievements and progress that have been made during the year. As expressed by many of our visitors, the Park looks splendid and I congratulate all those who assisted in making this happen. I would like to, once again, thank the Board for its trust in me and my management team to deliver the operational and strategic plans for the betterment of the Park’s facilities. Without its support we could not proceed with the confidence to achieve what needs to be done. My sincere appreciation also goes to my management team, John Vogel and Tony Brown and able consultants John Cottee (Finance), Peter Kaye (HR), Catherine Taylor (Marketing), Alexander Bailey (OH&S), Kevin Chester and Robert Eyles (Customer Service management system: Phoenix) and of course, my Executive Assistant, Tammy Templeman. Without these people doing what they do, ESMP would be a lesser place. Last but not least, my heartfelt thanks go to the many customers, families and visitors who have used our facilities throughout the year. Your ongoing support is vital to ESMP’s future and we look forward to continuing to serve in the exemplary manner for which ESMP has become renowned.
George H Passas FCPA, FCIS, FAICD
Management Team George H. Passas FCPA, FCIS, FAICD Chief Executive Officer
John Vogel JP Manager, Customer Services
Tony Brown Manager, Site Operations
John Cottee CPA, JP Acting Manager, Finance & Administration
John Vogel Manager, Customer Services This year the challenge of the best way to provide continued excellent customer service focused on ensuring that staff used all the tools that have been implemented in recent years to not only make their jobs easier but to provide a high quality and caring service to all who use our services.
Tony Brown Manager, Site Operations This year the operations division, in line with ESMP’s ten year maintenances plan to provide ongoing improvements to all Park facilities, implemented the following projects:
Recognising the value of the “mystery shopping” survey conducted last year in targeting specific areas for improvement, in 2007/08 we have continued this important programme and have again found it extremely useful in determining the needs of our ongoing training program and highlighting areas where we can still improve. As well we have implemented training seminars that provide insight into the customs of the many communities we serve and are grateful to members of those communities who have assisted with this training. The customer survey program in place for many years continues to measure the division’s performance and I am happy to report a 97% satisfaction rating on a 25% response rate. We are very appreciative to all who take the time to fill out the forms and their assistance in maintaining our standards. With the final phases of implementation of our database system, Phoenix, complete, staff now have an invaluable tool to provide customers with accurate material quickly and efficiently and this has greatly enhanced the service we provide. With many important improvements now in place we have an effective and professional team who continually receive many words of gratitude and positive feedback. Some examples of this are: “It is a very professional service; I cannot think how it could be improved. It provides everything that is needed, obligingly with great consideration to the customer, at an acceptable cost.” “All my administrative issues were completed, no errors, and all my requests were completed. Maintain your current level of service; it is excellent as are ESMP’S facilities.” Finally, I would like to thank Angela Kalomiros, Customer Services Team Leader, and all the members of the customer service team for their diligence, support and continued daily efforts to provide excellence in customer service.
Removal of high maintenance or unsuitable trees. In their place two new native trees were planted for every tree removed. Also new gardens have been planted throughout the cemetery and crematorium grounds. These additions have resulted in the enhancement of the general aesthetic ambience of many areas of the Park; Replacement of over 6 kilometres of eroded and old paths in the cemetery and crematorium grounds.
Additionally the following were completed as part of ESMP’s strategic plan:
• • •
Completion of two new burial areas and expansion of 4 other sections to create over 1,200 new grave sites; Completion of the cortége road allowing for off-road comfort of families and funeral directors prior to services; Completion of the scheduled stage of works in Centenary Park that included an upgrade of the ornamental ponds and construction of 2 new bridges. The upgrade offers new and beautiful additional memorial options for families. The new bridges were constructed in such a way to create a more aesthetic and dramatic cascade of water flow and also incorporate special niches that offer refuge to the water dragons that live on the waters edge in this area.
New paths have also been laid in various parts of Centenary Park for easier access to memorials in the area, seating has been installed around the ponds and memorial options have been introduced into the area along with additional trees and shrubs. ESMP’ s grounds staff increasingly demonstrate a high degree of personal responsibility and an attitude of just getting on and doing what needs to be done with minimal supervision. They are a strong team who work well together. Eight members of the grounds staff were trained and assessed by Work Cover Standards and officially certified to operate the cremators. Well done team! With changes now efficiently being implemented to plan, we are well prepared to tackle some of the exciting projects programmed for next year.
Peter Kaye Principal, Consultgroup Human Resource Management ESMP’s team of 17 grounds staff, 6 customer service staff, supported by 5 administration and management staff have continued to improve the Park’s appearance, facilities and service standards. Service monitoring, using Consultgroup’s Mystery Shoppers, has highlighted: • Staff’s improved service performance as a result of a greater focus on service training and monitoring against performance standards; • A 20% increase in sales service outcomes; and • Presentation of grounds and gardens has seen a steady rise in ratings given by our service analysts. Staff turnover decreased from 22% to 13% and attracting and retaining customer service staff remains a significant challenge. Teamwork remains a solid feature of ESMP’s HR culture with one clear indicator being the level of multi-skilling of both the grounds staff and customer service staff. This was further recognised in the annual performance assessment by both staff self rating and supervisor ratings indicating this to be high in significance. Once again all staff met or exceeded the set performance KPIs and received a performance–related payment based on either an overall share of surplus and/or in recognition of individual performance.
John Cottee Acting Manager, Finance & Administration It has certainly been a successful year! We experienced growing demand for product, increased interest in memorialisation and were able to achieve further costs efficiencies. These factors contributed to another strong financial performance. Funds generated by the consistent sales performance contribute directly to the Trust’s ability to plan further development of the Park to create better and more attractive options for remembrance memorials and tributes, and as a result of consistent financial performance in the last number of years, the Board can now proceed with planned developments over 2009 and 2010 that will substantially add to our product offering. The funding of these developments will reduce our earnings of interest from external deposits as funds are diverted from investments into development. However the completed facilities will drive expanded sales volumes and produce revenue inflow to sustain the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the Park. With the completion of the last stages of the implementation of the Phoenix database and customer system and resulting efficiencies in our internal processes vastly improved, the process of booking services and, importantly, managing the growing demand for memorials continues to provide increasing benefits to both clients and staff. On a daily basis the processes necessary for the work of operations and customer services is supported by Mohammad Shahidullah, this year promoted to Assistant Finance Manager, and I would like to thank him for his efforts and fine work throughout the year. In its role to provide the necessary foundation for the achievement of the Park’s goals, the Finance and Administration Department has made a significant contribution to the overall achievements of the Park’s activity and looks forward to excellence in this ongoing role and to assisting the CEO and Board achieve the Park’s strategic goals.
Training remained a priority for 2007/08 and the annual training plan ensured that compliance related training was completed. The customer service team successfully completed a series of training sessions designed to strengthen their service techniques. Supervisors and Team Leaders completed a range of off-the-job specialist courses to better equip them in their roles. Work on the collective agreement for the customer service group was finalised and only requires final staff ratification before proceeding with registration. Work on a comprehensive Operations Policy Manual commenced during the year and this will provide an important standards guide for all staff concerning operations policies to support HR policies and procedures manuals.
The ESMP staff complement and related statistics for 2007/08 was: Staff
CEO & Management
Grounds & Maintenance
Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Organisation Structure October 2008 (as at time of preparation of this report)
ESMPâ€™s strength is our people.
12 Administered by: The Botany Cemetery & Eastern Suburbs Crematorium Trusts Member of Cemeteries & Crematoria Association of NSW and Australian Cemeteries & Crematoria Association
12 Military Road, Matraville NSW 2036 P | (02) 9661 5655 . F | (02) 9311 3654 . e | firstname.lastname@example.org