A petition calling for funeral directors to be regulated has been launched following a recent issue of a man who had to break into a funeral home to retrieve his mother-in-law’s body as the funeral director went bust and didn’t make contact.
The lead petitioner is funeral director Andrea Button based in Medway, Kent, the same area where the incident occurred.
Button said the incident had a “negative impact” on the sector overall despite most funeral directors being members of trade associations National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).
She said while both associations carried out the necessary checks to ensure an “excellent service of standard”, no provider is required to become a member thus leaving some unregulated.
Button said: “What we need to see to see is statutory regulation to make sure no family is left as risk. I hope we will see these changes bought forward as soon as possible.”
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour group leader, added: “Most people would have expected to find this industry to be regulated by law – to find that is not the case was very surprising indeed. I’m sure this issue will find cross party political support as nobody will want to have their residents go through the same situation that those here in Medway had to endure with this recent rogue operator.”
Natasha-Boardman Steer, co-director of the Improving Mental Health Provision, added: “I am involved in a project which is looking at bereavement and death across the world. This is an area which we need to see positive improvement in this country – I think this proposed regulation of funeral directors would give people additional confidence that they wouldn’t be at risk of ending up in an unthinkable situation like the one recently reported. I would encourage everyone to sign the petition.”