Alan Slater, Chief Executive of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said: “We welcome the investigation and report by the Infant Cremation Commission and extend our sympathies to all the parents who have been affected.
“Funeral Directors take their responsibilities to bereaved families extremely seriously and, as part of the Commission, the NAFD is delighted to have played a major part in shaping the Commission’s views in relation to the funeral industry and wider aspects of infant cremation.
“We support any move that will ensure that there is clarity and consistency of approach, and welcome the fact that what constitutes remains in the case of infant cremation will now be enshrined in law. Funeral Directors pass on information to families they receive from experts at crematoria in good faith, and this will prevent personal interpretation and opinion being conveyed to us as fact.
“As an association, we do not believe it is the role of the Funeral Director to give a detailed description to traumatised parents about the cremation process and impact on the body, but we will work hard with the new National Commission to ensure that there is a transparent and well signposted route for parents to obtain the information they seek in relation to cremation from the cremation authorities.
“In relation to a new voluntary Infant Cremation Code of Practice (ICCP), the NAFD already has a robustly-enforced Code of Practice and an independent client redress scheme, which we consider to be the minimum requirements for any trade association. We will discuss with the Commission how this complements the proposed terms of the ICCP.
“Likewise, we await with interest more details about the role and remit of the Independent Inspector and how we can support this new position.
“We note that the Commission suggests specific training for Funeral Directors in areas of infant cremation. As previously stated, we do not believe that it is the role of Funeral Directors to go into great details with grieving parents about the cremation process. We would be pleased to work with the ICCM to devise a training module concerning the cremation of infants which can potentially be inserted into two new qualifications recently launched by the NAFD, i.e. the updated Diploma in Funeral Directing, and a new qualification, a Diploma in Funeral Arrangement and Administration. Both are approved by the National Open College Network and endorsed by Birmingham City University.
“As the voice of the funeral profession, the NAFD will work hard to ensure that it remains at the forefront of helping continue the work of the National Commission and shaping the future of infant cremation in order to help ease the burden on grieving families and avoid problems of the past.”