7. Short Life Working Group on Care of the Deceased

There are a number of key pieces of work which have been progressed collaboratively over the last few months. Significantly I am pleased to report that the first ever Scottish Working Group has concluded work on an initial mapping exercise of the journey of care for the deceased and identified resources, information and training available to funeral directors around the care of the deceased.

Four full day workshops having been designed and facilitated in the first quarter of this year, as follows:

19 February 2018 – Setting parameters, reviewing terms of reference, agreeing membership list and workshop overview and commencing work on the mapping exercise.

19 March 2018 – Workshop overview session 2 as agreed. Agreement on additional attendees for training sessions.

18 April 2018 – Dedicated training workshop.

18 May 2018 – Review of draft Code of Practice, including position statements on ‘nub’ issues and review of terms of reference to ensure covered all areas. Next steps agreed.

The short life working group is made up by representatives from the two main trade bodies ( NAFD and SAIF), the British Institute of Embalmers ( BIE), the British Institute of Funeral Directors ( BIFD)and other key stakeholders, and the outputs from the group have informed thinking on the statutory Code of Practice for funeral directors required by the 2016 Act.

The agreed terms of reference, membership list, workshop overview and workshop outputs are all included in Appendix 3. As a result of these sessions, a draft Code of Practice for Funeral Directors has been circulated to the group members, and detailed explorations of key elements have been facilitated. Specifically positions statements have been requested and received in relation to views on mandatory refrigeration, embalming, retention periods for statutory and non-statutory documentation, ashes management policy requirements, premises suitability, and views on the requirements and levels of training and qualifications. Legitimately, members are keen to ensure that this Code will reflect contemporary practice, and sets the standard for ‘what good looks like’ on a consistent and fair basis.

The group continue to share expertise and commentary on risks and opportunities in developing the next draft of the Code, and this on-going participation is to be welcomed.

On implementing this aspect of the legislation, alongside upcoming Inspection Regulations, it is expected that bereaved families will have comfort that good and consistent standards of care are being provided for their loved ones, irrespective of their choice of provider or the cost of the chosen funeral.


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