The CMA Report into Funeral Directing.
Good news, finally we have received the long awaited Government report into Funeral Director’s and Crematoria. I have listed the relevant paragraphs which affect us here in Swindon and added my comments.
The Competitions & Marketing Authority Report.
3. Our investigation has centred on how people approach the purchase of a funeral under the extremely difficult circumstances that precede and follow the death of a loved one, and on competition between funeral directors at this point of need.
This is basically how relatives of the deceased currently choose their Funeral Director.
4. At the root of our provisional conclusions is the observation that most customers, unsurprisingly, find it extremely difficult to engage with the process of purchasing a funeral. This is not only because of the emotional vulnerability that will affect many in the period before and following the death of a loved one, but also because of numerous other factors that conspire against their ability to exercise choices in the way they would normally do when faced with such an important purchase: social pressures and seeking to do the right thing for the deceased (when often they do not know what the deceased would have wanted); conflicting demands on their time and energy, when they are short of both; lack of basic understanding or practical experience of what organising a funeral entails, having to do so very seldom in their lives.
With the often sudden need to find a Funeral Director, many times we hear, “Oh Mum didn’t tell me what she wanted”. This highlights, yet again, the benefit of forward planning, A Funeral Plan or at the very least recording on one of our Funeral Wishes leaflets your own preferences, a copy can be downloaded here.
Families will usually ask a friend/colleague who they used, or return to the company who they have always used. Invariably that company has been taken over by one of the larger conglomerates, with little or no signage of this fact.
11. The two largest suppliers, Co-op and Dignity, account for 30% of branches and are often significantly more expensive (which we estimate to be by approximately £800 and £1,400 respectively) than many of the small, typically family-owned, businesses that operate the majority of branches in the UK.
This confirms what we have always known and why we have asked for ALL prices to be made publicly available (ours are available here) albeit on a website and displayed in our offices. The public should be able to compare prices from different suppliers, just like any other purchases, without even contacting them.
The long and short of this report is that the CMA have suggested to the Government that all Funeral Directors :-
1, Display and make available their prices in a similar manner to enable the customer to make an informed choice.
2, Display details prominently of who owns the company.
3, Should be licensed, thereby all companies will offer the same levels of service.
4, Will be inspected frequently for compliance with the regulations laid down.
5, Obtain and maintain Continual Professional Development (CPD) to keep the required levels of service and education.
The full report can be read here, should you wish to.
As I said at the beginning, good news at last, those who comply will have no need to fear this report, and subsequent regulations, ones with which Karen & I are in full agreement with.
Note to HM Government, please don’t take too long in implementing this report and it’s recommendations.
If anyone should need any more information or wish to discuss the contents of the report, I am more than willing to do so.
My very best wishes to you all, stay safe, Jem.