Salford City Council’s bereavement services has been awarded a national accolade in recognition of its work helping mourners.
The council is part of the Institute of Cemeteries and Crematorium Management Charter for the Bereaved scheme which offers the “highest service standards” for burials, cremations and funerals.
The council team said it has held the ‘Gold standard’ since 2014 and has kept up its standard this year as well as receiving higher assessment scores. Out of a total possible assessment score of 619 for burials and 485 for cremations the team achieved 591 and 461.
Salford was reportedly one of the first local authorities in Greater Manchester to launch its own fair funeral service in October 2018 after research showed many “low income families” take on “huge debts” to afford a burial or cremation.
The Salford Residents’ Funeral Service offers all the “elements and dignity” of a traditional funeral service but with the key difference on price thanks to its partnership with local funeral directors Kanes.
The contract was awarded through the council’s “procurement process” and has already saved grieving relatives over £200,000 since its launch.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “Sadly we have seen more funerals as well as restrictions on the number of mourners because of the pandemic but the team has worked incredibly hard to overcome these challenges.
“They have introduced webcasting and recording services from Peel Green and Agecroft crematoria where our grave diggers hand dug a 500-metre trench to lay cables because companies were not available to do the work in the early pandemic.”
He added: “The team has also worked hard to create more choice for people for last resting places and memorials, kept up with training for employees and have won the Green Flag award for Agecroft Cemetery for the first time which is given to the country’s top parks and green spaces.
“They are already working on more improvements including online bookings for funeral directors and families to provide better out of office hours service, improved music choices, mapping cemeteries and working with local charities and community groups to improve support for people who have been bereaved.”