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Gov praises ‘unsung heroes’ in funeral industry following CMA report

The Competition and Markets Authority published its final report into its market investigation into the funeral market, specifically covering funeral directors and crematoria

The UK government has praised the funeral industry’s “unsung heroes” following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s investigation into the funeral market.

The report specifically examined funeral directors and crematoria, with the government promising to work alongside the sector “to ensure effective co-regulation” and committing to reviewing the effectiveness of the new co-regulation model.

In the government’s response, the Ministry of Justice stated: “The funeral sector, in one form or another, has provided a valuable service to the country for centuries. The funeral sector is often made up of unsung heroes within the community, with much of their work unseen by the public.

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“The government recognises the hard work of the funeral sector, and further appreciates its dedication through the particular challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Funeral directors have met the demands of this particularly challenging period, often providing informal bereavement support in addition to their usual services.”

It added: “We also recognise that users usually interact with the sector at some of the hardest and most sensitive times in their lives, and consequently are particularly vulnerable to any bad practices where these may exist.”

Following the Ministry of Justice’s response, the Co-op said: “During the pandemic, the funeral sector has stepped up to meet the many challenges and ensure that families and their loved ones have received the very best care and support.

“Throughout this period the sector has worked very closely with government and we are pleased they have taken this opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of funeral workers.”

It added: “The Co-op has been leading the way in improving quality and standards of care in the industry. We therefore welcome the announcement from the Ministry of Justice today, that the government has agreed in principle to a form of registration and inspection, which will seek to improve customer experience for themselves and their loved ones over the long term.”

Jon Levett, chairman of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), said: “The NAFD looks forward to working closely with the Ministry of Justice to demonstrate that our revised inspections regime and comprehensive industry code of practice…will provide government with the assurance it needs that the funeral sector is committed to acting with transparency, high standards and in the interests of bereaved people.”

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