8. The guidance has four sections: for burial authorities, for cremation authorities, for funeral directors, and a section for local authorities in relation to charge setting and tackling funeral poverty. The guidance includes a range of measures to:
- Encourage burial and cremation authorities and funeral directors to use clear and consistent language and terminology
- Encourage burial and cremation authorities and funeral directors to make pricing information available in a number of formats
- Encourage crematoriums to display their prices in a way that helps people to understand which services are included in their attended cremation charge (and so are not optional) and which services can be added at an extra cost.
- Encourage improved transparency of pricing by funeral directors at the point of sale, such as clearly setting out the range and price of available funeral services (including lower-cost options), providing an itemised quote and a final bill
- Improve the ability of consumers to compare lower-cost options across different funeral directors by setting out a clear definition of a simple funeral.
- Encourage burial and cremation authorities to accommodate the wishes of people who do not want to use the full services of a funeral director
- Encourage local authorities to take steps to improve public understanding of burial and cremation charges such as consulting on charge setting and providing information about expenditure and income for these services. It also suggests local authorities consider sharing and learning from best practice, where appropriate.
- Encourage local authorities to take steps to reduce funeral poverty, such as recognising funeral costs as a potential cause of poverty when developing local authority poverty reduction strategies, and supporting people who are struggling with the costs of a funeral.
9. The guidance on funeral costs is advisory and will not impose new requirements or conditions on funeral directors, burial authorities or cremation authorities. We have worked closely with the funeral industry and local authorities in developing the guidance in order to increase the likelihood that it will be widely adopted.
10. The Scottish Government established three working groups in early 2018 to explore issues associated with funeral costs and to provide expert knowledge to the guidance drafting process. Membership included local authorities, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), private cremation authorities, the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA), the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). Draft guidance was prepared in the first half of 2018.