This Code of Practice is presented as the standard to which all firms offering Direct Cremation to the public should strive to operate.
It has been drawn up to ensure that, as the adoption rate of Direct Cremation increases, families are provided with an option that delivers the same level of care and dignity to the bereaved and the deceased as would be expected from the best traditional funeral providers.
It is designed to address the obligations of the Direct Cremation Provider in four key areas:
- Obligations to the Family
- Obligations for the Care of the Deceased
- Obligations to the Public
- Obligations to their Staff
Each section starts with an Ethical Principle that sets the goals and ideals that should be applied. The Ethical Principle is followed by the applicable sections of the Code of Practice which lists specific types of conduct that is either required or prohibited.
i. Service to Families
All funeral directors have an ethical obligation to serve each family in a professional and caring manner, being respectful of their wishes and confidences, being honest and fair in all dealings with them, and being considerate of those of lesser means. This is even more important where the client rarely meets staff of the firm, instead dealing with them by post, email or telephone.
Code of Practice
- Firms shall provide funeral services to families without regard to religion, race, colour, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
- Firms shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to the prepayment of funeral services.
- All clients shall be provided with information under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellations and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 as soon as is practicable after instructing the firm.
- Firms shall provide pricing information on their website and in their printed materials which should enable each client to easily understand the charges that will apply to them.
- Firms shall protect confidential information pertaining to the deceased or the family of the deceased from disclosure.
- Firms shall carry out all aspects of the funeral service in a competent and respectful manner.
- Firms shall properly account for and remit any monies, documents, or personal property that belongs to others that comes into the firm’s possession.
- Firms shall not engage in any unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the families they serve in the course of providing professional care.
ii. Care of the Deceased
Firms have an ethical obligation to care for each deceased person with the highest levels of respect and dignity, and to transport, prepare and shelter the remains in a professional, caring and conscientious manner. Vehicles should be modern and well maintained and the deceased should be stored in refrigerated conditions.
Code of Practice
- All deceased persons shall be treated with proper care and dignity during transfer from the place of death and subsequent transportation of the remains.
- Only authorised personnel of the funeral home or those persons authorised by the family shall be in attendance during the transfer of the remains.
- All deceased persons in the firm’s possession shall be treated with proper care and dignity and shall be properly covered at all times.
- Firms shall use refrigerated storage of sufficient size for the number of deceased persons that shall be in their care.
- The deceased shall be placed in a new and unused coffin as soon as is practicable upon arrival at the firm’s premises. All deceased persons and any property and effects shall be properly identifiable at all times. This shall be by a minimum of a wristband and appropriate labels.
- Permission should be sought for the recycling of any pacemaker present. Pacemakers should be removed at the earliest opportunity.
- Instructions should be obtained regarding any jewellery or other personal effects. Any such items present should be recorded in the mortuary register and unless otherwise instructed should be removed at the earliest opportunity, properly identified and kept safe until returned to the family.
- Firms shall not violate any statute, ordinance, or regulation affecting the handling, custody, care or transportation of human remains.
iii. Obligations to the Public
Firms have an ethical obligation to the public to offer their services and to operate their businesses in accordance with the highest principles of honesty, fair dealing and professionalism.
Code of Practice
- Firms shall not engage in any unprofessional conduct which is likely to defraud or deceive the public.
- Firms shall not engage in false or misleading advertising. All advertising shall comply with the requirements of:
- The British Code of Advertising Practice
- The British Code of Sales Promotion Practice
- The Radio Authority Advertising and Sponsorship Code
- Any other relevant Codes or Legislation
- Firms shall not personally or through an agent or employee solicit deceased human remains, whether the solicitation occurs after death or while death is imminent; however, general advertising directed to associated professions or the public at large would not constitute a violation of this section.
- Firms shall ensure that all staff do not use alcohol or drugs to the extent that such use adversely impacts their ability to carry out his or her obligation as a funeral professional.
- Firms shall not employ anyone convicted of any crime involving immoral conduct.
- Firms shall not offer to sell or arrange the sale of funeral goods or services on a preneed basis in violation of any applicable laws or regulation.
iv. Obligations to their Staff
Firms have an ethical obligation to their staff to both operate their businesses in accordance with legislation and to treat their staff fairly.
Code of Practice
- Firms must comply with the requirements of all relevant legislation at all times. This includes:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Working Time Regulations
- The National Minimum Wages Regulations 2015
- Any other relevant regulations or requirements
- Staff should be paid at least the Living Wage and where the total hours worked including overtime would reduce their hourly rate to below the Living Wage, overtime should be paid in addition.
- Firms should ensure that staff receive adequate training for all tasks that they are likely to have to partake in.
- Staff should be provided with workwear and protective clothing and equipment at no cost to themselves.
- Arrangements should be made to ensure their safety, e.g. through the use of vehicle tracking, time-keeping apps, regular check-in calls, etc.
- Subsistence should be paid to all staff working away from the Firm’s premises in accordance with HMRC guidelines.