In response to ITV Tonight documentary, Funerals: A costly undertaking?, Terry Tennens, chief executive of SAIF, commented:
“Adam Shaw’s programme on the funeral industry took a thoughtful approach to several emotive issues, from concerns over funeral costs and emerging trends in funeral planning through to the difficulty many of us face when trying to discuss funeral wishes with our loved ones.
“I was invited to take part in the documentary and I spent two hours being interviewed on all these issues. Unfortunately, at the eleventh hour, ITV chose not to include any of the footage of either my interview or the NAFD’s, instead including our comments as a voice over, despite the concerns both organisations raised with this approach.
“This was particularly disappointing because SAIF has been very active in working with the DWP to reform the Social Fund and in encouraging people to share their funeral wishes with their loved ones through our Five things to do before you die booklet – both issues that were discussed.
“I was pleased the documentary recognised the hard work and dedication of many funeral directors but it was disappointing the programme focused on families who haven’t received the best treatment, particularly with regards to funeral costs, without showing the compassion and support the vast majority of funeral directors offer to the public.
“However, it rightly recognised the role that local authorities have to play in the rising costs of funerals – highlighting increases in burial and cremation fees. Further scrutiny of this area would be interesting as prices have been rising for much longer than the five years the programme covered.
“Funeral directors are often an easy target for the media when it comes to funeral costs, as we also saw in an article published yesterday by the Daily Mail which created an inaccurate perception of the industry as a whole. Needless to say, we have contacted the journalist to highlight our concerns and asked them to update the article to present a more balanced view.
“As a trade association representing over 870 independent funeral directors we believe it is important we engage in these national discussions and we work hard to promote the fantastic job that independent funeral directors do every day for their communities.”