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:

Campaigns supported by SAIF:

Issues faced by funeral directors

1. Funeral payment applications

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.

Members can read what we had to say by logging into the Members’ Area and selecting the Funeral Profession Information section.

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.

We will update all members when we know more, but the most relevant details can be found in the Members’ Area under Funeral Profession Information.

Alternatively, check the News and Views tab or use the Search button at the top of the page.

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

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.

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

SAIF is represented on the Council of British Funeral Services by Richard Edwards. More information is available here. You will need to login first.

9.  Suicide bereavement

SAIF is pleased to support:

Suicide Bereavement UK

Support After Suicide Partnership – a special interest group of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance which focuses on supporting those bereaved or affected by suicide

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