The charter for the bereaved
We support the Charter for the bereaved published by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management. The charter sets out a minimum standard of service that the bereaved should be entitled to. As a member of the Federation of Burials and Cremation Authorities, we are bound by the Code of Cremation Practice.
- it is your right to organise a funeral without the use of a funeral director
- it is your right, as executor (or next of kin), to be given the body by a mortuary, hospital, etc, in order to carry out a funeral without a funeral director
- it is your right to obtain a coffin (minimum biodegradable type) via your Charter member
- it is your right to obtain a 'Personalised or Independent funeral' leaflet from your Charter member describing how to arrange a funeral without a funeral director
Charter members should ensure that the bereaved are aware of these rights, and that personalised or independent funerals offer social as well as financial benefits to the community.
Charter members should increase coffin choice wherever possible. The availability of a standard chipboard coffin is recommended, as well as a bio-degradable option. Coffins need not be stocked, provided a reliable source is identified. Where green burial options are offered, a bio-degradable coffin should be available.
Charter members may need to consider introducing a fee for personalised or independent funerals, to reflect any additional work arising over the absence of a funeral director.
Charter members should consider whether new funeral options can be offered to the bereaved, which reduces the monopoly control of funeral directors. The following services have been suggested for further consideration taking into account the limitations (ultra vires) imposed on local authorities:
- a body collection service without a traditional hearse, followed by cremation and the return or placement of the cremated remains
- having a hearse (or equivalent estate car) available for hire, to enable people to carry out funerals