Issues affecting the profession
From consulting with the Government on changes to legislation and concerns around funeral poverty, through to organ donation and helping families cope with bereavement – the funeral profession faces many challenges.
SAIF works alongside a variety of groups and organisations to ensure the views of independent funeral directors are heard at the highest level.
We are involved in and support a number of national campaigns and organisations that are related to end of life care.
We are also keen to hear from as many of our members as possible about the issues that affect the day to day running of their business. So please, get in touch if there is anything you would like to highlight.
Issues faced by funeral directors:
- Funeral payment applications
- Debt relief orders
- Death certification reforms
- Coroner’s office issues
- Scottish National Council on Infant Cremation
Campaigns supported by SAIF:
- Funeral poverty
- Organ donation
- Grief Journey
- Dementia awareness
- Child Bereavement UK
- National Aids Trust
- Burial & Cemetery Advisory Group
- Coffin accreditation
- Suicide bereavement
Issues faced by funeral directors
Most funeral directors will be aware of the distress caused to bereaved families by the application process for Social Fund payments to help with funeral costs.
The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) is consulting on potential changes to this type of benefit and SAIF has submitted its response.
We would like to thank all SAIF members who took time to submit responses and we will keep you up to date with how the inquiry progresses.
In April 2016, the House of Commons Work & Pensions Committee also published a report on support for the bereaved, which summarises how Social Fund funeral payments and financial support for bereaved people can be improved.
Click here to find out more.
2. Debt relief orders
Several SAIF members have been unable to recover funeral costs in cases where a DRO has been applied.
In response we have contacted the Insolvency Service and taken part in a Government review covering DROs and the creditor petition limit in bankruptcy.
Thank you to all members who contributed to our submission and we will continue to keep you up to date once the findings of the review have been published.
3. Death certification reforms
The Department for Health has confirmed that from April 2018, independent medical examiners will scrutinise and confirm the cause of all deaths not subject of a coroner investigation.
The aims of the reform are to strengthen safeguards for the public, make the process simpler and more open for the bereaved and increase the quality of certification and data around causes of death. If any death needs to be investigated and there is cause for concern, appropriate action will be taken.
The consultation period on the reforms has now finished and the Government is considering all comments.
4. Coroner’s office issues
Problems arise frequently concerning local coroner’s offices. SAIF aims to be involved and help where possible. Please let us know of any issues in your local area.
5. Scottish National Council on Infant Cremation
The Scottish Government has passed new legislation updating procedures relating to burials and cremation.
SAIF Scotland was involved in the consultation process and more details can be found on the Scottish Government website.
SAIF’S support for funeral related campaigns
1. Funeral poverty
i) Campaign to End Funeral Poverty
SAIF is pleased to back this campaign to raise awareness and encourage action on the growing crisis surrounding the cost of dying.
Over 300 SAIF members have signed the Fair Funerals Pledge, which asks funeral directors to be transparent about the costs of a funeral and offer the most affordable package visible to the public.
ii) British Gas Energy Trust
This offers people grants to get themselves out of debt. Grants may be applied for to help towards funeral costs. Read more here. You will need to be logged in first.
2. Dementia awareness
Every three minutes someone develops dementia and by 2020, over 1 million people will be affected. Dementia has become one of the nation’s greatest health challenges and the impact on UK businesses is great. With nearly 44% of people either directly or indirectly affected, we know that a large number of SAIF members and customers will be dealing with dementia in some way. In March 2018 SAIF signed an agreement with Alzheimer’s Society to promote Dementia Friends. Find out more.
3. Organ donation
SAIF is delighted to support the work of the NHS Organ Donation Register and we help promote its message both within our own organisation and further afield.
A SAIF endorsed organ donation leaflet is available for all members to display in their premises, with a small charge to cover postage and packaging.
Contact SAIF Business Centre to order your leaflets.
4. Grief Journey
The Centre for the Grief Journey was established in 1992 to assist and support people in a grieving process after a significant loss and to provide meaningful resources and help.
5. Child Bereavement UK
CBUK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.
Unfortunately, 92% of children and young people will experience a significant loss before the age of 16 and one in 20 will be bereaved of a sibling or parent.
6. National Aids Trust
NAT aims to transform the UK’s response to HIV.
Between 1981 and 2012 AIDS killed more than 36 million people worldwide and in 2013 an estimated 35.3 million people were living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.
7. Burial & Cemetery Advisory Group
This group provides advice on burials and burial grounds to burial authorities, the public and government and SAIF’s representative is Darren Carpenter.
8. Coffin accreditation
9. Suicide bereavement
SAIF was delighted to welcome Sharon McDonnell of Suicide Bereavement UK to our recent Education Day. During her presentation Sharon outlined the research she’s involved with, for which SAIF members’ views are sought:
National Suicide Bereavement Survey: An Opportunity to Participate
The University of Manchester in collaboration with the Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP) are conducting a national study of suicide bereavement. The research aims to gain insight into the impact of suicide on people’s lives. We would like to give as many people as possible the opportunity to share their experience of being bereaved or affected by suicide. This survey is relevant to Funeral Directors who have the difficult role of dealing with issues around suicide, caring for the deceased and the bereaved families. For more information and access to this anonymous online survey, please click this link. Recruitment onto the study will take place between August 2017 and July 2018.