List of Undertakers
We eventually hope to comprise a comprehensive list of Undertakers over the coming months, but for now, as with any service, recommendation is often far more preferable than picking an unknown company out of the phone book (or off a website for that matter). Friends, family, clergy or your doctor may therefore be a more appropriate port of call, to recommend reputable companies. We say companies (plural), as within our consumer society, the advice of 'shopping around' may seem a difficult one to apply to funerals, but should still be considered as prices for similar services can vary considerably.
Relatives or friends are probably the most appropriate people to ask to help by ringing around several funeral directors to compare prices and services. The Natural Death Centre, (the educational charity which campaigns on behalf of the public for greater openness in the funeral industry), believe that a good funeral director should be a 'facilitator' - someone who helps the family organise as much of the funeral arrangements as they want to. Increasingly, family members want to be more involved in the arrangements and help in the final rituals.
When choosing a funeral director:
* ask for a detailed description of costs and a price list when getting a quote
* when asking for a telephone quote make sure that it is put in writing as well
* try and get quotes from more than one company
* check whether the funeral director is professionally qualified and holds the diploma in funeral directing (Dip.Ed.)
If you have any doubts, find out if he/she is a member of any of the trade associations and ask if they subscribe to the Funeral Ombudsman Scheme (see below) .
The two main trade associations are:
National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
618 Warwick Road
Tel: 0121 711 1343
Established in 1905, formerly the British Undertakes Association, this was the principal trade association in the funeral profession until the mid 1980's. Its members' Code of Practise is available free.
The Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
SAIF Business Centre
Tel: 01279 726777
Established in 1989 with a membership covering over 900 funeral homes, SAIF is the co-ordinating body for smaller, independent, often family firms. SAIF operates a legal helpline for clients - 08705 234500.
Lastly, but by no means least, is the Association of Green Funeral Directors (AGFD)
Tel: 01795 830688
The Association has three main objectives:
To help members of the public find funeral homes in their area which are willing to provide greener options in the funerals they carry out. To encourage funeral directors (FDs) to become more green-minded in all aspects of their work and help bring natural funerals into the mainstream. To provide income for the Natural Death Centre (NDC), an organisation that provides independent funeral advice in the UK.
www.simplydignified.co.uk (offers dignified lowcost funerals)
For 'green minded' funeral home in the London area, contact www.greenendings.co.uk