Scottish Government consults on future of funerals

Scottish Government is carrying out a consultation on funerals to try to tighten up on behaviours and standards in the industry.

Responses are invited by 20 September 2019.

The Government team invited views from funeral directors and others associated with funerals as a kicking off point and have come up with a draft Code of Practice.

They’re looking for views on this Code.

Once you’ve had a chance to digest it and reflect, answer these questions.

The final Code will be statutory, requiring all funeral directors in Scotland to adhere to it. It also means they will be inspected in line with the Code.

The aim of this new Code is to make sure that every person in Scotland has a dignified and respectful funeral, and bereaved families can be reassured that good standards of care will be provided. 

The Code will require funeral directors to adhere to good standards of care of the dead and be transparent in the goods and services offered to families and others organising funerals. 

This will form part of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act.

It covers:

1. Engagement of a funeral director and transfer of the body into their care.
2. Care of the dead person and the premises used by the funeral director.
3. Planning of the funeral service according to the wishes of the person who has died and family, friends, neighbours or professional carers helping organise the funeral.
4. Delivery of the funeral.
5. Handling complaints.
6. How the business is run.

The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March 2016. The Code is being developed as part of that Act. The Act will also bring in the appointment of government Inspectors of Funeral Directors and the licensing of funeral directors’ businesses.

These changes should improve customer choices, the standard of services and at the end of the day, lead to better experiences of death and dying.

In future, Government will carry out inspections against the standards set out in the Code and they will investigate and address serious or significant complaints, taking any enforcement action.
For many years, funeral trade associations have really been the main bodies setting out rules and monitoring the behaviour of funeral directors. They have their own Codes of Practice and Standards that funeral directors must uphold. This new Government Code should give families reassurance that they are getting the best service, with an external eye checking out trade practices.

If you have any questions, email the Burial and Cremation Policy Team or phone them on 0300 244 4000.

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