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Launch of North Ayrshire Bereavements Charter

Posted on 11 Dec 2017

North Ayrshire Council has joined forces with funeral directors and local clergy to launch its first-ever Bereavements Charter.

Councillors, representatives of the clergy and funeral directors today (Monday, 11 December) joined Depute Provost Robert Barr to sign the Charter.

The Charter sets out a series of pledges to bereaved families about the standards of service and care they should expect to receive following the death of a loved one.

It includes five key commitments:

  • The Council’s Registration Services to offer an appointment within 48 hours and offer an out-of-hours service over the Festive PeriodYes
  • Bereavement Services to offer a date for the burial within five working days of receipt of paperwork, although families can still request a burial outwith the five-day timescale
  • Funeral Directors to ensure paperwork is accurate and notify any changes to Bereavement Services at least two working days prior to the burial
  • Funeral Directors, Clergy and Celebrants to ensure good timekeeping when arriving at cemeteries/graveyards, and
  • Bereavement Services to consider new technological solutions to improve service delivery

The move to create the Bereavement Charter followed concerns about waiting times over the Christmas and New Year period last year.

As a result, a working group of the Council's Bereavement Team, Registration Services, Elected Members, Funeral Directors and Clergy, was formed to ensure that the standards expected by bereaved families are delivered.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet member for Place, said: “I want to thank all members of the working group who have come together with the ultimate aim of providing best possible service to families who have lost a loved one.

“As a result, we believe that we will see more effective working practices and better communication between ourselves, funeral directors and the clergy.

“We hope that our commitment to the Charter will provide greater peace of mind to families during what will be a traumatic time for them.”

The working group discussed the process from death registration until burial and a new procedure for the processing of Certificates of Registration of Death has already been piloted and has proved successful in helping to reducing waiting times.

The Bereavements Charter will be available to view on the Council's website and at appropriate Council buildings. Funeral Directors and Clergy have also been invited to publicise the Charter in their offices, parlours, websites and places of worship.

The Working Group will continue to meet on a regular basis and is currently researching funeral poverty, including the opportunities and help available to tackle this problem.