Ooh la la! The NAFD invites visitors for ‘café et croissants’ during the National Funeral Exhibition

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Latest News | 0 comments

The National Association of Funeral Directors has revealed that the design of its stand for the 2013 National Funeral Exhibition will be a stylish French café, with visitors invited to enjoy a coffee and pastry – or refreshing Pastis – with friends and colleagues during the show. The stand, inspired by a Parisian café design and complete with a traditional ‘Colonne Morris’ in each corner, will be a vibrant and lively hub at the heart of the three-day event, with members greeting old friends or enjoying the melodic sounds of an accordion and potential members exploring the benefits of NAFD membership in convivial surroundings. The stand will also highlight the market-leading range of benefits of NAFD membership which, amongst others, now include: £5 million public indemnity insurance for each member as part of their subscription, £100,000 HMRC investigation insurance and £100,000 employment insurance A respected voice at the heart of Government with established cross party groups in all four UK Parliaments and Assemblies A range of free business support helplines covering essential aspects such as financial, legal and employment law, HR, repatriation and PR support Outstanding professional qualifications, backed by respected academic bodies Perfect Choice funeral plans, with guaranteed returns and the ability to set your own price A robust client-facing Code of Practice and independent client redress scheme The NAFD’s sociable, central stand reflects the role of the Association as the “Voice of the Profession”, providing a unified voice and representing the needs of its growing membership which now exceeds 3,600 funeral homes – over 2,000 belonging to small independent members. Readers of the Funeral Service Journal are invited to visit the NAFD’s stand during the National Funeral Exhibition where a warm welcome and a fresh coffee and pastry await them. There will also be a special show offer for any funeral business that applies for membership during the...

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NAFD: “Charities miss out on £22 million in funeral donations”

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Latest News | 0 comments

Giving charitable donations in lieu of flowers at funerals has become a common occurrence over the past few years. Indeed, it’s estimated that around £100 million per year is raised for charities this way – an enormous sum and the equivalent of two televised Children in Need appeals every year. Collecting these donations is a little known service that we provide for our clients, yet it amounts to an incredibly positive trend for the UK funeral industry, and one that the NAFD believes we should look to grow. But this boom in generosity does not come without its flaws. Almost all funeral donations are collected in cash or by cheque by funeral directors themselves, then tallied and passed on to the charity. This is a time consuming process which takes around two hours per funeral and, moreover, it leaves funeral directors particularly vulnerable to disputes over the total raised. Issues regarding charity donations are a regular source of complaint to the NAFD’s Funeral Arbitration Scheme, making it one of the most common subjects for conciliation/arbitration. The system is equally inefficient for the charities involved. In theory, if the donor is a UK tax payer, then the charity is able to claim back an extra 25% in tax on the donations through the Inland Revenue’s Gift Aid scheme. But this can happen only if the collector takes a Gift Aid declaration at the time of the donation, along with a full name and address. All the evidence suggests that, as a result of this red tape, Gift Aid is reclaimed on very few donations collected by the funeral industry – meaning charities miss out on an estimated £22 million a year in extra income (and that’s a conservative estimate). The NAFD feels strongly that there is an opportunity for the industry to grow charitable giving through funerals even further, but that, to do so, we must address these issues. To that end, over the coming months the Association will be launching initiatives which it hopes will make collecting funeral donations easier and more secure for funeral directors and their clients, not to mention better for the beneficiaries. Ultimately, by tackling this head on, the NAFD believes it is possible for the industry to raise millions more for charities every year, whilst protecting members and providing their clients with an improved...

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Positive developments on funeral vehicle licensing

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in In the latest Issue, Latest News | 0 comments

In an interim statement made on 9 April 2013, the Law Commission recommended that funeral vehicles should retain their statutory exemption from licensing. Last year, the Law Commission published a consultation document which contained provisional proposals for reform of the legal framework relating to taxis and private hire vehicles. The Commission’s provisional proposal was that weddings and funerals should no longer be expressly excluded from private hire licensing through primary legislation. The NAFD responded to the consultation, which closed in September 2012, to highlight concerns with the proposal, and the Cross Party Funerals and Bereavement Group in the Welsh Assembly and All Party Parliamentary Funerals and Bereavement Group in Westminster both submitted separate responses as well. The Law Commission has now published the responses it received alongside an interim statement that included a recommendation that wedding and funeral cars retain their statutory exemption from licensing, rather than relying on the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers to exempt them. The Commission stated:- “We recommend that wedding and funeral cars should continue to be exempted from licensing. Our provisional recommendation in respect of the wedding and funeral car exemption raised unparalleled concern among members of these trades, although licensing authorities and the police agreed that the current exemption could cause problems. On balance, we have concluded that there are valid arguments to keep the exclusion from licensing in primary legislation.” (Law Commission Interim Statement, 9 April 2013). The Law Commission will publish its analysis of consultation responses when its final report is ready for publication, alongside the proposed Law Commission draft Bill, at the end of the year. It is not standard practice for the Law Commission to publish its policy recommendations in advance of a final report. However, the Commission stated that, for the many stakeholders who expressed concerns regarding the possible changes to taxi and private hire legislation, it appreciated that waiting until the end of the year for the conclusions to be published was not appropriate. NAFD Chief Executive Officer, Alan Slater, stated: “The Law Commission’s interim recommendation that funeral vehicles retain their statutory exemption from licensing is a very positive development for the funeral industry. If the exemption is removed the funeral industry would see an increase in red tape and costs that would ultimately be passed on to the bereaved. I would like to thank all NAFD members who submitted consultation responses to ensure that the Law Commission was aware of the depth of concern felt by the funeral industry about the proposals set out in the...

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