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.