The past month has been busy for Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors of Swansea and the Dulais Valley. At the forefront of this activity has been our continued support for the Enhanced Fair Funerals pledge, a campaign run by the anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action (QSA).
This pledge outlines certain criteria including the inclusion of all signatories to publish pricing for a simple dignified funeral on their websites. This price should include all necessary third party costs, such as crematoria charges, vicar/minister/celebrant fees and doctors’ fees. The raison d’etre being to help bereaved families, improve transparency and combat funeral poverty.
This pledge was supported by Co-Operative Funeralcare, the largest national funeral company in the UK, with approximately 900 funeral branches (each branch having an independent website). On further inspection by Sims and Jones, we believe the Co-op did not act within the spirit of the pledge which was to include third party costs online. We also believe the information provided could potentially be misleading to a bereaved family. This was brought to the attention of QSA who agreed with our claim and subsequently approached Co-operative Funeralcare. Sims and Jones also wrote to the Co-op with its concerns but the letter has so far received no response.
Here are screenshots of Co-operative Funeralcare’s website before signing the pledge and after being approached by Sims and Jones and QSA.
As you can see, changes have been made to the national website and all other websites that are associated with the individual branches. A welcome victory for a small independent funeral directors. We are pleased that thanks to our involvement there is now far greater transparency and clarity for the public. However, we still believe that compliance to the pledge is questionable. Third party charges are still excluded by the Co-op in regard to their ‘Simple Funeral’. The QSA has said that it is working with the Co-op to rectify this within a set timeframe. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the situation.
The Co-op offers and publicises a ‘Simple Funeral Plan’ for the inclusive price of £2,945. This provides the same services as the ‘Simple Funeral’ but has to be bought in advance. We strongly believe this still carries a lack of transparency as the ‘Simple Funeral Plan’ for £2,945 is almost an admission that the ‘Simple Funeral’ is likely to end up at the £3,000 mark once third party costs are included. We would urge the Co-op to make this clearer to families using their website.
Sims and Jones are still continuing to campaign for clearer pricing – with full costs published online – and we will be working with the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) moving forward.
We believe that greater transparency of pricing within the industry is vital to safeguard the interest of bereaved families during what can be a very traumatic time.
We are able to offer our essential funeral for £1,995 and our inclusive funeral for £2,895, both of which include all required disbursements. As in any purchase in life, and more especially with a funeral, make the choice that is right for you, without compromise.