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IFSO welcomes NAFD compliance checks on funeral firms

From January 2022, all standards monitoring work previously undertaken by the National Association of Funeral Directors, including inspections, will move over to the new Independent Funeral Standards Organisation (IFSO). 

Open to all funeral firms from the outset, IFSO’s newly appointed Director of Regulation, John Withington (pictured), who has a background in financial and legal regulation, has told FSJ that CMA compliance will be a high priority for the inspections team as they begin to assess IFSO registrants. 

Indeed, compliance checks are already underway, with the NAFD intending to complete a major programme of compliance auditing before it hands over to IFSO, and in advance of its next membership renewal round in January. All renewed NAFD members will automatically be registered with IFSO as part of the transition.

“Although we’re seeing good levels of compliance on the whole,” said John, “it’s clear that some firms are not there yet, and others are still yet to get going at all. So it’s extremely encouraging that NAFD is undertaking a major piece of work to check compliance now, and will support its members to achieve and remain compliant.

“I urge all businesses, whether NAFD members or not, to see this as a priority and to ensure they comply. Like any regulator, IFSO will expect its registered firms to meet all the normal legal requirements of doing business as a funeral director, and we can no more tolerate a breach of the CMA’s transparency requirements than we can a breach of environmental health, infection control or indeed any other relevant regulation. 

“I want IFSO to actively support funeral firms in being successful, trusted and respected – but it’s a two-way street: funeral firms need to be compliant – and proactive in their desire to meet a high benchmark. This is all about ensuring consumers can feel confident in the funeral firm they choose – and well informed about the costs of the funeral they arrange. Being able to easily check pricing in advance is a normal part of life – so there’s no room for avoidance here. 

“For firms still working on their compliance, there’s plenty of help out there – particularly for those that are members of the NAFD and SAIF – but just reading the CMA Order and Explanatory Notes will suffice – it sets out exactly what needs to be done.”

“Far better to comply now and get on with business, than wait for the CMA’s Enforcement Team to take action against you.”

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