CMA 'encouraged' by levels of compliance - but there's still work to be done
In a meeting with the NAFD in December, the Competition and Markets Authority said that it considered levels of compliance with the Funerals Market Order, to date, to be ‘good’ – particularly given that statutory regulation is completely new to the sector and it can see that the majority of firms are now wholly or partially compliant with the Order.
This chimed with the findings of an audit conducted by the NAFD Standards and Quality Management team, before they transferred to their new role with the Independent Funeral Standards Organisation. The audit showed that more than 85 percent of member firms had made significant attempts to comply.
The CMA enforcement team has made it clear that their approach is firstly to educate, encourage and advise funeral firms towards full compliance – with the aim of getting as many funeral firms across the line as possible.
But, while resorting to tough sanctions might not be the first tool they choose from their armoury to address non-compliance, they’ve also made it clear that the full range of sanctions, including court proceedings, remains open to them for those who simply refuse to comply and the next compliance reporting deadline, in April 2022, may trigger the arrival of tougher sanctions for those who simply refuse to meet the legal requirements.
With the launch of IFSO, the NAFD’s role from January will be to support and advocate for funeral firms, rather than to monitor their standards. However, to ensure quality standards among members, renewal of NAFD membership each year will be contingent on firms being successfully IFSO registered.
Any firms who are removed from IFSO registration will not be able to renew as NAFD members until such time as they have regained their IFSO registration. The NAFD will offer support to the member in resolving any issues, to assist them in regaining their IFSO registration, but, ultimately, “NAFD membership must stand as a mark of quality and so proving that you are operating to high standards is a benchmark the NAFD is not willing to compromise upon.”
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