Funeral Director Code of Practice

The Funeral Director: Code of Practice (‘the Code’) applies to all funeral directors carrying out the functions of a funeral director in Scotland regardless of where their business is based.

Delivery of the funeral

67. The funeral director is responsible for managing the delivery of the funeral according to the wishes of the client, including:

  • When instructed to do so by the client making bookings, for example of the requested venues, church, celebrant and catering.
  • Ensuring that the client has completed the required statutory forms and that these forms are sent to the appropriate statutory authorities in good time.
  • Keeping and updating records and documentation and ensuring that the client’s requests for goods and services are recorded accurately including any changes made to the client’s requests or instructions.
  • Ensuring that the deceased is presented in accordance with the wishes and instructions of the client as far as reasonably practicable.
  • Managing donations appropriately, transparently and as requested by the client.
  • All funeral directors must have a written policy in place for managing donations which is understood/known by staff and is readily accessible to the client.

68. The funeral director must keep the following records which are accessible by authorised personnel only:

  • A record of all the funerals provided including requested services, estimates and invoice.
  • A record of the advice given to clients in relation to viewing the deceased and the outcome of the advice.
  • A record of the management and handling of any ashes.


69. The funeral director must have a written ashes management policy in place setting out how they will arrange for return or disposal of ashes.

70. The funeral director must ensure the careful and appropriate storage, handling, recording and dignified management of ashes. They must act in accordance with section 54 of the 2016 Act and any regulations made by the Scottish Ministers under section 56 of the 2016 Act.

71. All records relating to ashes must be kept by the funeral director. Where a record contains data about a client who is still living these must be kept in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

72. At a minimum an ashes management policy must cover:

  • Procedures for:
    • ashes storage in a designated, locked, clean, dry and well maintained location,
    • ashes and the cremation certificate to be stored together,
    • recording each individual set of ashes,
    • splitting of ashes including the transfer of ashes from one container to another,
    • transfer or release of ashes including procedures for contacting the client and obtaining identification prior to the release of ashes to the client,
    • reporting lost or damaged ashes to appropriate management,
    • reporting lost or damaged ashes to inspectors within 48 hours of discovery,
    • keeping a record of the scattering or interment of ashes if undertaken by the funeral director, and
    • keeping a written audit trail of all actions taken with the ashes.
  • The following matters:
    • a clear description of the options available to the client e.g. scattering, interment, retention in an urn.
    • adequate safeguards to ensure ashes cannot be combined with other(s) i.e. only preparing one set of ashes at a time.
    • provision for a change of instruction by the client in respect of ashes.



Back to top