Independent funeral directors at forefront of online price transparency

06/10/2020   //   No Comments

As part of SAIF’s work to help independent funeral directors thrive in a rapidly changing world, members have agreed unanimously to lead the way in improving price transparency for bereaved families.

In a historic vote at a special general meeting today (6th October), SAIF has opted to incorporate online pricing as a requirement in its Code of Practice.

The game-changing move is aimed at providing today’s increasingly digital consumers with the information they need to make the right choice when it comes to funerals.

And crucially, it means independent funeral directors will be better able to compete online and fully promote their unique caring propositions to the communities they serve.

It also demonstrates to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and other official bodies that SAIF members are serious about providing a transparent service to people facing the prospect of making the ultimate distress purchase.

Implementation of online pricing is to begin now with full membership expected to be compliant by 31st March 2021.

Funeral directors who are without websites will have the option to use alternative digital platforms to share price information such as Facebook or third-party price comparison websites.

In terms of the minimum information SAIF members will be required to display online, the Code will stipulate that full details of unattended burials and cremations and simple funerals should be displayed on websites. It is also expected that price information for tailored or bespoke funerals, within which could be considered ‘traditional funerals’, will be displayed.

SAIF Chief Executive Terry Tennens described the revisions to the Code as a watershed moment in the history of British funeral directing.

He said: “Independent funeral directors have always been the most innovative segment of the UK funeral profession, excelling in providing a tailored, more personalised service to the families in their care. And this, as the CMA investigation has shown, is combined with offering the best value too.

“The changes to SAIF’s Code of Practice have been in development for some time and in recent weeks members of the Executive Committee have worked tirelessly and constructively to agree on a form a words that works best for our members, whether that’s a single-employee business or a firm with multiple branches caring for a range of diverse communities.”

He added: “It’s really important to stress that the new requirements are a minimum standard and I encourage funeral businesses to view the revised Code as a framework for truly showcasing how you make a difference to bereaved families. I have every confidence that SAIF members across the UK will embrace the changes as we embark on the next generation of funeral profession innovation, in which independent funeral directors will lead the way.”

Mr Tennens also said the Code’s revisions would be reviewed after a period of time to ensure they were working as intended for members and their clients.

The full agreed revised Code of Practice text will be published in the coming days.

Additionally, SAIF is developing an online pricing toolkit to help independent funeral directors make the most of the changes and this will be shared with members soon.

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