Regulation

At present there are no regulations at all covering the funeral industry. This means that anyone can set up a business and operate offering funeral services and taking on the care of a deceased. There are no educational, qualification or training requirements and there are no minimum standards of practice or industry guidelines.

The very fact that there has been no regulation / legislation has attracted a wide variety of people to the funeral industry from corporate businesses, financial specialists, insurance companies, entrepreneurs and people from almost all types of previous jobs.

Without regulation of any kind it has enabled the industry to remain guarded and secretive, the prices to increase out of control, operate with unfavourable trading terms of service, and have inconsistent standards – some being unacceptably low. Without regulation, death and people’s grief is being used as a commodity. This is impinging on peoples ability to grieve healthily.

It is imperative that we have legislation to protect the bereaved and this would be the basis on which to build truly independent regulatory system with operating standards and guidelines, with effective monitoring.

Having a variety of business types within any business sector is paramount to enable healthy competition and a broad choice for consumer, but there has to be standard operating requirements (not just standardising services but facilities too) with compulsory training and qualifications relevant to the role being carried out.

Controlling prices and operating practices is essential, but one other element that needs to be made legislation is the requirement that anyone providing services involving taking custody or care of a deceased person, has to have adequate facilities and specifically trained competent personnel to carry out services to the deceased in a ‘proper’ and professional manner and to also observe and protect public health and public safety.