At a time when Local Authorities are under more scrutiny than ever before, the 2020 Public Health Act Funerals Conference is well placed to bring all parties together to discuss current provision, look at solutions and prepare for the future.

The recent Royal London report found that Local Authorities have spent in excess of £6.3m on on PHA funerals in the financial year up to March 2019.With one council, Birmingham, providing funerals for 387 residents in the year.

The report also highlights that there is no minimum standard for funerals provided. Royal London has called for the introduction of a minimum standard that allows families to attend a funeral and that ashes are returned to next of kin after a cremation, free of charge.

The Church of England General Synod will also be debating the matter and parliament have also made noises about change. The Government will increase the amount of the Funeral expenses payment in April from £700 to £1000. Whilst this is welcome, the amount paid still will not cover the cost of a basic funeral which means that the bereaved may have to turn to the Local Authority to provide a service.

David Lockwood, who runs the Public Health Funerals Information Service (PADSN) and organises the annual PHA Funeral Conference in association with Finders International said “I welcome the Royal London report and its call for a minimum standard”. He continued “it’s clear that staff work hard to provide a dignified service for the deceased, but they are put under financial constraints, a minimum standard will at least give them a framework they can follow. This will also end the postcode lottery meaning that the bereaved will know what they can expect.”

David is calling on all interested parties to attend the forthcoming PHA Funerals Conference at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel on the 14th May. David stated that “it is an ideal opportunity for those seeking change to meet the Local Authority staff that provide the service, to see their compassion and commitment and to forge links to work together to improve the quality of service we give”.

Delegates can sign up now via the online form found here