News

In this section you will find the latest news and campaign updates from the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Click here for useful media resources such as recent press statements, background briefings, logos and images.

If you are an NAFD member with a press enquiry to handle or would like some support and advice in managing your PR, please call the NAFD PR hotline, operated by Wordsmith Communication, on 0845 250 8435.

Please note this number is for press enquiries only.

 

Jon Levett appointed as new Chief Executive Officer of the NAFD

Jon Levett has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer at the National Association of Funeral Directors from 1 October 2018.

For the past five years, Jon has been Chief Executive at the British Psychoanalytical Society, which is the main professional body and learned society for psychoanalysts in the UK. During his tenure at the Society, Jon oversaw a number of major changes, including reforms to the organisation’s governance and the establishment of an internationally renowned online learning function, creating significant new income.

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2018 Royal London report shows funeral directors’ costs down 4.5%

The NAFD has welcomed the findings of the 2018 Funeral Cost Index by Royal London, which shows the proactive stance taken by funeral firms, with a 4.5% overall drop in costs – but higher local authority burial and cremation fees. The report also challenges the government to improve the outdated Social Fund funeral payment – something the NAFD has campaigned for, for more than a decade.

The report highlights how families struggling with funeral costs could be entitled to help from the Government to pay for necessary costs but the support offered is “inadequate”. It goes on to challenge why funeral director’s fees, a coffin, hearse and collection and care of the deceased are not seen as necessary costs by the Government and only up to £700 is offered to bereaved families to cover costs.

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2018 Royal London report shows funeral directors costs down 4.5%

The NAFD has welcomed the findings of the 2018 Funeral Cost Index by Royal London, which shows the proactive stance taken by funeral firms, with a 4.5% overall drop in costs – but higher local authority burial and cremation fees. The report also challenges the government to improve the outdated Social Fund funeral payment – something the NAFD has campaigned for, for more than a decade.

The report highlights how families struggling with funeral costs could be entitled to help from the Government to pay for necessary costs but the support offered is “inadequate”. It goes on to challenge why funeral director’s fees, a coffin, hearse and collection and care of the deceased are not seen as necessary costs by the Government and only up to £700 is offered to bereaved families to cover costs.

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NAFD highlights importance of choosing a funeral director that’s inspected, in response to Dignity report

The NAFD welcomes anything which helps the funeral profession to provide the best possible care for bereaved families.

A new report, commissioned by Dignity, makes a useful contribution to the wider debate about how we make certain that all funeral directors can be properly assessed for their operational standards, not just those firms which currently abide by a Code of Practice and are regularly inspected, which all NAFD members are.

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Public dismiss claims of rising extreme funeral poverty

Despite the frenzy led by some politicians over funeral poverty, the number of people unable to afford a funeral has not grown in two years, according to YouGov research.

The new survey revealed that 12% of people surveyed said they had no means of paying for a funeral in any way, the same figure as when previous YouGov research was carried out two years ago. However, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said today that those in that bracket will continue to struggle until the inadequacies of the Government’s Funeral Expenses Payment, which has remained static since 2003, is addressed.

The survey also revealed that the majority of people surveyed who have used a funeral director in the last five years do NOT think that funerals are too expensive, with 83% saying that funeral directors are offering good value for money.

It also highlights the need for a change in consumer thinking – the majority of Brits accept that it is their responsibility to pay for their own funeral, yet 59% have not made any plans to do so.

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Government’s response to death certification reform consultation ‘lets the public down’

Following the written statement today (11 June 2018) by Lord O’Shaughnessy, Minister at the Department of Health, outlining the Government’s long-awaited response to the 2016 consultation into death certification procedures, Past President Nigel Lymn Rose – who has campaigned for change to these outdated and confusing procedures for many years, on behalf of the NAFD – said:

“Having waited for two years for the Government’s proposals to make death certification more consistent, and less distressing and confusing for grieving families, we find ourselves still waiting – as the Government has decided to defer any substantive reforms of certification procedures for at least another year, while focusing instead on internal matters such as introducing Medical Examiners into the NHS, a role which is designed to root out malpractice.

The announcement, which only applies to England at present, also only focuses on deaths in hospital whereas, in reality, the greater concern is the deaths of those that die outside an NHS setting. We welcome the news there will be no additional public charge for the Medical Examiner’s service in this first phase, but the Department of Health warns in the document that the service will at some point need to be funded, indicating that bereaved families are likely to continue to be charged, it will be extended to burials as well as cremations, and funeral directors will be expected to collect it.

“In our view, the Department of Health has let the public down. Faced with the death of a loved one, or the knowledge that one is imminent, families will have to continue to have to quickly decide whether the person they love will be buried or cremated – a somewhat brutal question which is often extremely distressing for them – in order to negotiate one of two entirely different certification routes in order to get a Medical Certificate of Cause of death (MCCD) and be able to arrange the funeral. We have campaigned for years for these procedures to be more straightforward and respectful of the needs of bereaved people and it is infuriating that the government has chosen to avoid progressing these vital reforms again.”

NAFD responds to Treasury and CMA announcements regarding funeral sector

The NAFD has welcomed the announcements, this morning, of a HM Treasury consultation regarding changes to the regulation of pre-paid funeral plans and a Competition & Markets Authority investigation into whether the information provided by funeral directors on prices and services is clear enough for people to be able to choose the best option for them.

The NAFD has been encouraging greater visibility of pricing for several years, with a significant number of NAFD members now publishing their prices online. At the recent NAFD Conference in Durham, the Association announced the development of a new website for the public, set to be launched in July, on which NAFD funeral directors will be encouraged to publish service and pricing information.

The Association has an ongoing dialogue with the Competitions & Markets Authority and we are pleased to see that key points we have raised with them are reflected in their announcement. The Association has also called for tighter regulation of funeral plan sales and recently wrote to Treasury Minister John Glen setting out its concerns.

We are studying today’s announcements carefully. We have been invited, and look forward to, participating in the consultation process.

NAFD sets out its preferred regulatory solution for funeral plan sales

Today (26 April 2018), the NAFD welcomed the second Fairer Finance report into how the sale of funeral plans should be regulated, having been involved in shaping its findings, and set out the Association’s preferred options for the future regulation of the sector.

In launching the report, which was sponsored by Co-op Funeralcare, Dignity, Ecclesiastical and Golden Charter, James Daly of Fairer Finance said: “There is not enough protection for customers buying pre-paid funeral plans. These products can cost several thousand pounds and, crucially, the customer won’t be around to see whether the promises made to them have been kept. We’re concerned that a small but significant minority of businesses in this sector are taking too much in commission and administration fees and may not be putting enough aside to keep the promises they have made to customers.

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Scotland introduces index-linked funeral payments – when will rest of UK follow suit?

The Scottish Parliament has signalled the first step to fairness, voting to introduce index-linked funeral payments, signalling a major step forward in the fight to help bereaved families.

The NAFD, which has been campaigning strongly for the move at Holyrood and Westminster for a number of years, welcomed the news from Edinburgh. Interim CEO Graham Lymn said he hoped politicians at Westminster would now follow suit and look at linking funeral payments to inflation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Buy your funeral plan from a funeral director – not Google

A new report, highlighted in today’s Daily Mail (How cheap funeral plans flogged online leave families facing a nasty bill), has highlighted concerns, shared by the National Association of Funeral Directors, about the pressure selling tactics of sales agents acting for less scrupulous funeral plan providers.

Funeral plans can provide peace of mind to families that funeral costs will be taken care of, when the time comes – and there are many excellent funeral plans available to buy from highly reputable firms. However, the NAFD has been concerned, for some time, that agents acting for less scrupulous funeral plan companies are subjecting vulnerable people to pressure selling tactics and, in some cases, funeral plans are being sold that will not adequately cover the costs of the chosen funeral.

The NAFD strongly advises the public to talk directly to funeral directors about their funeral plan needs – and to check that any funeral plan provider they are considering abides by the Funeral Planning Authority’s standards and scrutiny requirements.

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Press Office

Call the NAFD Press Office on:
0845 250 8435 or email us at nafd@wordsmith-communication.co.uk