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Plans to improve crematoria checks accelerate

At this year’s Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA) conference Kate Davidson from The Crematoria and Memorial Group (CMG) set out the progress of an industry initiative that seeks to strengthen inspection procedures in the crematoria sector, replacing the previous informal audit process.

Initial research commissioned in 2017 by the FBCA – who represent 84% of crematoria – found an overwhelming sentiment from its members that there was scope to raise standards and improve credibility of the current inspections scheme. This led to the formation of an industry working group to review inspection processes and ultimately the introduction of the Crematoria Compliance Inspection Scheme, formally launched in the spring at the House of Lords.

The strengthened scheme addresses six key themes; cremation administration, ceremony facilities, cremation facilities, grounds and memorialisation, service and staff, and premises and facilities. It outlines the standards crematoria will need to show they are meeting during a formal inspection.

The first inspection took place in Oxford, with 60 set to take place each year. The ultimate aim is to publish the results online, so the public can check how their local crematorium rates. 

Speaking at FBCA, Kate outlined why the inspection process is being strengthened.

She said: “The need for change in the industry is significant. FBCA and its members are facing heightened public and political scrutiny. And whilst the sector has always been committed to high standards and quality, there is far more we can do to improve services we offer to the people and communities we serve. The new standards have real credibility and enable us to not just maintain, but increase quality and standards of crematoria across the UK.”

In addition to the views of the crematoria sector itself, consumer research carried out last year assessed what the most important elements of a funeral service were for them. Most people placed greater value in having enough time at the crematorium and a private moment to say goodbye, than cost. The inspections scheme seeks to address some of the issues found in this report and other research carried out by the FBCA.

Brendan Day, Secretary for the FBCA said: “It’s vital we continue to improve the services we provide, and ensure consumer needs and expectations are not just met, but exceeded.

“We’ve carried out 31 inspections under the strengthened process and have seen positive results against the criteria. However, there is still vital work to be done – around 5% of scores against assessment questions resulted in ‘require improvement.’ I look forward to seeing the initiative progress and working with all of our members to provide the highest standards in the sector.”

PHOTO:  CMG regional manager Kate Davidson

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