Funeral directors: draft code of practice

Draft statutory code of practice for funeral directors. Funeral directors will be inspected against this code once it comes into force.

1. Engagement of the funeral director and transfer of the deceased

1. The funeral director must be transparent with the client about the goods and services they offer. If the funeral director does not offer the goods or services the client has requested, the funeral director must make that clear and must make the client aware that those services can be accessed elsewhere. All written and verbal communication must be clear and in plain language avoiding technical jargon. The funeral director must act on the views of the client without prejudice.

First contact

2. When the funeral director is contacted in relation to the death of a person, initial details must be gathered. The funeral director at first contact must, whenever practicable, obtain and record the following minimum information:

  • The full name, address and telephone number of the person making contact with the funeral director.
  • Confirmation that the death has been confirmed by a medical professional.
  • The full name and address of the deceased.
  • The date of birth and age of the deceased, if known.
  • The current location and address of the deceased, if different to the above address.

Transfer of the deceased into the funeral director's care

3. In the event that the funeral director has been contacted by someone other than the client, the funeral director must make all reasonable enquiries to establish the identity and location of the client at this stage, and to establish contact with the client as soon as possible.

4. Before transferring the deceased into their care the funeral director must ensure that:

  • The equipment to be used is suitable, sufficient and well maintained.
  • The staff involved in the transfer of the deceased are trained to do so.
  • The vehicle used to transfer the deceased must be specifically for that purpose, clean and well maintained.
  • The deceased is treated with care and dignity.
  • Consideration is given to any bereaved persons present.

5. At the location where the deceased is, the funeral director must:

  • Confirm the identity of the deceased.
  • Obtain signed authorisation from the client, or other person if the client has yet to be identified, for the transfer of the deceased into their care and advise that person in writing or by e-mail where the deceased is being transferred to, the location's address, and contact phone number, if applicable.
  • At the earliest opportunity inform the client of all locations where the deceased will be cared for (and all addresses of the premises where the deceased will be kept).
  • Make or obtain a written/electronic and signed record of the deceased's personal effects that the funeral director will have in their care and a record of any personal effects which have been returned to the person signing the record at the time of transfer.
  • Securely attach to the deceased a completed identity tag (e.g. to the wrist).

6. The funeral director must retain a comprehensive record of all deceased persons who have been in their care. This record must be sufficiently detailed to record what actions have been carried out in relation to the deceased person (e.g. first offices, washing, dressing - where, when and by whom, time of deceased's arrival and departure at funeral director). This record must be stored in an accessible form and in secure conditions.



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