Most people know very little about the funeral industry and it surprises many to learn that there are no regulations. There are a number of funeral trade associations of which funeral directors can be members. These trade associations typically ask their members to adhere to certain standards of practice and sometimes make inspections of premises. The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and the Society of Allied and Independent Funerals (SAIF) are the two associations you’re most likely to encounter. The NAFD has varied membership, from independent funeral directors to large chains, such as Dignity and the Co-operative Funeralcare. SAIF’s membership is made up of independent funeral directors.

Check out our interview with Mandie Lavin, the CEO of the NAFD, from April 2017.

Both SAIF and the NAFD have a code of practice that sets out a number of guidelines:

  • They ask all funeral directors to treat customers with professionalism and sensitivity, and also state customers should not be pressured into purchases.
  • They require funeral home staff to undergo training, covering both the practicalities of conducting a funeral, as well as treating the deceased with dignity and providing the best possible service to the customer.
  • Members must provide a ‘Simple Funeral’ package.
  • All members must have an itemised price list, and have these available in their premises.

SAIF and the NAFD have very similar codes of practice. The key difference is that SAIF represents only independent funeral directors, so where you see the SAIF logo, you can be sure that funeral director is not part of a larger chain.

 

Can I trust a funeral director who is not a member of a trade association?

Not all funeral directors belong to a trade association and picking a funeral director is not a guarantee of quality. Some small funeral directors, only conducting a handful of funerals a year, may not join due to membership fees. On the other hand, some funeral directors may wish to set their own standards of practice over and above those of the trade associations.

The NAFD and SAIF encourage customers with a complaint to speak to the funeral director first. If this is unsuccessful, you can address the issue with the trade association, who will then launch an investigation into the matter. In this regard, trade associations offer more options to customers with complaints, providing a way to hold funeral directors to account.

 

What are the alternatives?

The Good Funeral Guide is a consumer-facing organisation, offering impartial advice with tips on how to get the best value for money. The guide is independent and not-for-profit, with a huge knowledge base including funeral director reviews and a wide range of options for those interested in an alternative funeral service.

Beyond customers can easily see which trade associations funeral directors belong to, shown on every funeral director profile under ‘Affiliations’. Get comparing local funeral directors today with just your postcode on this link.

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