Mon Feb 01 2021
The National Association of Funeral Directors has involved lawyers to protect their members
The National Association of Funeral Directors has said their members may need to start charging grieving families for fines issued for any breaches of lockdown regulations as it was ‘utterly ridiculous’ that its members were facing severe penalties for performing a frontline job.
Although rules vary across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all four nations currently have strict limits on the number of people allowed at a funeral service.
In England, Hertfordshire, one funeral director was issued with a £10,000 fine after nearly 150 people turned out to a funeral service where the maximum capacity should have been just 30.
Speaking out over the issue the NAFD (National Association of Funeral Directors) said it understood why many of its members were considering asking families in certain police force areas to cover the costs of any potential fines should restrictions be broken.
The alternative, the NAFD said, was to hold funerals with out any family members in attendance at all.
Most police forces are being sensible about how they enforce restrictions, but some... have got their approach seriously wrong. UK funeral directors are critical workers and, in the main, small businesses. Forcing them to risk a £10,000 fine for every funeral they are doing to support the nation through the pandemic is utterly ridiculous and could lead to some of them closing down.
Commenting on the £10k fine issued in Hertfordshire, the Police said it was issued to the Welwyn Garden City funeral director for ‘not managing the event correctly and advising their clients of the rules’.
The NAFD responded to that claim by having their lawyers write to the force challenging the fine and seeking clarity on why their funeral director was responsible and ‘what he should have done’ differently.
The Cabinet Office has also had to get involved, stating it had provided detailed guidance to the industry, adding it was a “legal requirement and therefore, the responsibility” of the organiser of the funeral (in this case the funeral director) or venue manager to take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
Those measures should include a limit on mourners and making sure those who did attend wore face coverings and maintained social distancing.
Mon Feb 01 2021