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.

 

MPs to debate funeral poverty today, yet Government support has fallen again

Funeral payments from the Government’s Social Fund peaked at over £90 million in 1994-95. In 2015-16 only £40 million was paid out.

Parliamentarians will meet to debate funeral poverty in the House of Commons this morning (Weds 14 September), seeking ways to help the 10-12% of people for whom any unexpected expense in life, including the cost of a funeral, is impossible to meet.

Yet a growing case of double standards is frustrating efforts by the funeral profession to support the changing needs of bereaved people and address those in poverty. The Department of Work and Pensions’ Social Fund accounts for 2015-16, quietly released on 7 July, indicates that the Government spent 10% less than the previous year supporting those in funeral poverty and gave out 12% fewer grants to cover funeral expenses.

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Probate legal fees cost more than funeral directors, new Cost of Dying report shows

Responding today to the Sun Life Cost of Dying report 2016, the National Association of Funeral Directors said it showed that people were now spending more on probate legal fees than on the services of a funeral director.

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Ask your MP to take part in funeral poverty debate

The NAFD is encouraging funeral directors and members of the public to urge MPs to take part in tomorrow’s (Wednesday, 14 September) Parliamentary debate on the Social Fund Funeral Payment.

In desperate need of reform, the Funeral Payment covers all necessary disbursement costs in full, but since 2003 has only provided £700 towards other costs, most notably, funeral directors’ fees (including collection of the deceased and provision of a hearse), a coffin and a memorial. These costs have all been affected by inflation.

The NAFD has prepared this information pack for politicians – please feel free to download and share with your MP.

If you are unsure of your MP’s contact details simply enter your postcode here.

The debate begins at 9.30am and takes place in Westminster Hall. It should be broadcast live at parliamentlive.tv/Commons.

Funeral directors to put prices online to allow public to compare

The NAFD advises the public that standards and service must be of equal importance when choosing a funeral director

Britons planning a funeral will easily be able to compare costs as well as quality after funeral directors pledged to publish their prices online.

A major survey of UK funeral directors by the National Association of Funeral Directors revealed that 25% of its 4,000 funeral home members now have pricing information online and a further 19% intend to do so within the next two years, meaning that nearly half of UK funeral directors will have pricing online by 2018.

The aim is that all 4,000+ NAFD funeral home members will have some form of pricing on display and easily accessible by 2020.

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Changes to cremation regulations in England and Wales

The Government has announced that amendments to regulations regarding cremation in England and Wales will come into force on 1 October – bringing the two nations into line with Scotland.

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The NAFD appoints new Chief Executive Officer

The NAFD appoints new Chief Executive Officer

The NAFD has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, Mandie Lavin.

Mandie is a qualified nurse and barrister – a member of Middle Temple. She joins the Association today (6 September 2016) from her role as CEO of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and brings with her significant experience of working in trade associations having also run the Bar Standards Board and acted as Director of Regulation at the General Optical Council.

NAFD President Jeremy Field said: “Mandie brings with her valuable insight into two professions with whom funeral directors work closely – healthcare and the law. I am very excited by the opportunities that Mandie’s appointment offers the NAFD and its members at what is a seminal moment for the profession. On behalf of all NAFD members I would like to welcome Mandie to the Association and wish her every success in her new role. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our immediate Past President William Millar for his invaluable support as interim CEO over the past six months.”

 

NAFD responds to sentencing of Ms Alison Pople

Responding to the sentencing of former funeral director Ms Alison Pople, for the theft of charitable donations, the NAFD said:

“This was a criminal act, by an individual who repeatedly breached the trust placed in them and Ms Pople’s actions in no way reflect the high standards of the UK funeral profession. Our thoughts are with the families and charities affected by Ms Pople’s actions and we are pleased, for them, that she has been brought to justice.

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NAFD welcomes Government response to cremation consultation

The National Association of Funeral Directors has welcomed the Ministry of Justice response to the Cremation Regulations consultation and, in particular, the recommendation of a new statutory definition of ashes, as well as amendments to statutory cremation forms which will make sure that applicants’ wishes are explicit and clearly recorded before a cremation takes place.

Both of these recommendations were central in the NAFD’s response to the consultation as they will help to ensure both high standards and clear communication for bereaved families.

The NAFD is particularly pleased to see our suggestion of non-statutory Codes of Practice for Crematoria, together with training for all agencies involved with them, has been adopted by the Government.

However, the Association remains unconvinced that a National Inspector of Crematoria would offer the best framework within which to deliver these reforms and would instead result in additional red tape for bereaved families to contend with at a difficult time in their lives. Furthermore, the cost of appointing and maintaining an inspector will inevitably be passed on to bereaved families at a time of increased scrutiny of the affordability of funeral costs.

Funeral directors have a very important role to play in helping families after the loss of someone close to them and in ensuring they understand their choices and what is happening to their loved one. The Association will be pleased to play a part in the new National Cremation Working Group, to ensure the needs of bereaved families, and the funeral directors who support them, remain at the forefront of policy making. The NAFD looks forward to collaborating with Government, cremation bodes and consumer organisations to ensure this new working group is proactive and delivers meaningful outcomes.

NAFD reaction to Government Bereavement Benefits Inquiry response

The National Association of Funeral Directors has today welcomed the Government’s response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Bereavement Benefits and remains committed to working with Government to reform the Social Fund Funeral Payment.

The Social Fund Funeral Payment is there to support the 10% of bereaved people for whom any unexpected expenditure is simply beyond their means. Having fought for so long for this outdated benefit to be reviewed it is encouraging to hear that the Government intends to put time and resource into developing a fairer and more equitable system for both bereaved people and the funeral directors who support them.

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The NAFD raises concerns on planned Death Certification reforms

The National Association of Funeral Directors, which represents almost 4,000 UK funeral homes, has set out its concerns about the proposed changes of Death Certification in a response to the Department of Health consultation which closed overnight (15 June 2016).

The NAFD’s response has been prepared in close consultation with the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and can be viewed as an authoritative response on behalf of the profession. The NAFD has also worked with Cruse Bereavement Care to ensure the needs of bereaved people are reflected in its response.

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Press Office

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