The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) has appointed qualified nurse and barrister Mandie Lavin as its Chief Executive Officer.
The NAFD represents more than 4,000 UK funeral homes and works closely with all four UK governments to address the needs of bereaved families.
Ms Lavin joins the Association from her previous role as CEO of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. She previously acted as Director of Regulation at the General Optical Council and run the Bar Standards Board. Ms Lavin helped to establish the independence of the regulator within the Bar Council.
In a range of roles previous across pharmacy, accountancy and the law Ms Lavin has held responsibility for education, regulation, standards and ethics. She remains a member of Middle Temple, having qualified as a barrister in 1993 following an earlier career on the front line of the NHS at Guys Hospital in London.
NAFD President Jeremy Field welcomed Ms Lavin to the profession: “Mandie brings with her valuable insight into two professions with whom funeral directors work closely – healthcare and the law. I am very excited by the opportunities that Mandie’s appointment offers the NAFD and its members at what is a seminal moment for the profession. I would like to welcome Mandie to the Association and wish her every success in her new role.”
Ms Lavin added: ‘From my early days as a nurse and NHS manager I have always had immense respect for the work of funeral directors and have seen greater potential for the industry. Funeral directors make a real difference to families and friends at the time of their greatest need. The professionalism and care with which funeral arrangements are made and decisions taken should be viewed by the public as a hallmark of NAFD membership that they can trust.”
Ms Lavin’s appointment comes at a time of heightened interest in the work of the funeral profession, particularly in Westminster and Holyrood, which is leading to rapid change within the sector to meet the needs of consumers. Ms Lavin plans to draw on her parallel experience in other trade bodies to help drive this change further.
“There is a lot of synergy between my new role at the NAFD and the roles I have held in other trade associations, particularly the Bar Standards Board, in terms of what NAFD strives to deliver to its members and, indeed, to the public.
“Public confidence in the work of funeral directors is vital and it was striking to discover that a recent YouGov survey about the profession uncovered a 95% satisfaction rate amongst those Britons who’ve recently asked a funeral director to help them say goodbye to a loved one. That is a level of confidence that most consumer services simply do not achieve and it is imperative that we continue to earn this public support, help families to talk about and put better plans in place for the end of life and find the right balance between what people perceive they should spend on funeral and the high quality of service and personalisation that families quite rightly have come to expect from funeral directors.”