The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Hurrah for Dignity!

Friday, 9 March 2012

 

Announcement by the Press Association:

The UK’s largest provider of funeral-related services has reported higher profits after its strongest year for the number of families planning ahead for a death.

Dignity, which has 600 funeral locations including 35 crematoria, said the number of pre-arranged funeral plans on its books and yet to take place increased to 265,000 in 2011, from 238,000 the previous year.

The group, which last year held 62,300 funerals, allows customers to plan a funeral in advance and make provisions towards the cost through its Dignity Guaranteed Funeral Plan.

Dignity said underlying pre-tax profits increased by 3% to £41.6 million in the year to December 30, as it increased its location portfolio by 33 in the year.

Sebastien Jantet, analyst at broker Investec, said Dignity had delivered “yet another set of strong results”. He added: “The highlights were a strong performance from the pre-arranged funerals division.”

The Sutton Coldfield-based group said its funeral services division, which brings in the largest proportion of profits, had received investment of around £9.5 million, with roughly half of this funding the replacement of its hearses and limousines.

The group’s crematoria division saw operating profits increase 7% to £21.3 million as it conducted 47,600 cremations, compared with 45,200 the previous year.

The group completed the construction of two crematoria in Somerset and Worcestershire in the period, while work continues on a new crematorium in Essex. The group is also the preferred bidder to operate Haringey Council’s crematorium in north London.

Looking ahead, Mike McCollum, Dignity chief executive, said: “While 2012 has started more quietly than 2011, the board remains confident in the group’s prospects and its expectations for 2012 remain positive and unchanged.”

Here at the GFG-Batesville Tower we celebrated this marvellous news by announcing a half day holiday (unpaid, of course) and shooting an intern. 

13 comments on “Hurrah for Dignity!

  1. Lee Bengough

    Monday 4th February 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I know what you mean Jed, even though hes on call at night and weekends he aint even allowed to take the Company 08 Ford Focus home that has to stay outside the chapel of rest in Bargoed every night and all weekend, so if he gets a call out at night or weekend he has to use his own car and drive to the Blackwood Branch Woodfield Park Funeral Home To get the private ambulance, I said to him thats rediculous as he lives about 11 Miles From DJ Thomas (Bargoed) and 10 Miles From Woodfield Park Funeral Home (Blackwood).

    But its people like Steve and the Dignity Staff you know that are making Dignity, they are on the front line so to speak and is the first port of call. Ive been down to have a chat with him twice since my Aunties funeral last June and hes always welcoming and he even helped me with another matter last time I spoke to him I said I was trying to find my great uncles grave and that the council gave me the plot number but couldnt find it due to number markers being taken off etc anyway Steve told me what time I could catch the Cemetery Head Grounds Keeper and thanks to his advice I did.

  2. Jed

    Monday 4th February 2013 at 12:08 am

    Steve sounds like a star, Lee. I know some lovely staff who work at Dignity branches – I don’t think they are appreciated by their bosses though – most of them don’t even have a decent chair to sit on, nor I might add – lockable filing drawers! They dream of computers and email – how can you function in this digital age without email? Well, I know how, because one rings me and asks me to email ‘our’ families, the printers, proof read online the Orders of Service, which I do because I want the ceremonies to be perfect….so I suppose that makes me an unpaid, unsung hero of Dignity world… LOL. Follow your dreams Lee.

  3. Lee Bengough

    Sunday 3rd February 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I couldnt have said it better myself Charles, Steve is so passionate about his job you would never think he worked in the steel works before working for Dignity, He also had a heart attack in 2011 but he still works hard and help families through tough times.

    Its people like him that Makes a difference, If I wasnt Disabled I wouldnt mind working in the Funeral Business.

    I shocked my family as I am 26 was born with special needs and is a sensitive person but you know when we went to view my Auntie I handled it better than my older sisters, actually I went twice to see her, wanted to go back a 3rd time but Steve didnt recommend it so I took his advice, but yeah the family was shocked as they thought id take it badly, since then ive taken an interest in the Funeral Industry.

  4. andrew plume

    Thursday 31st January 2013 at 10:21 pm

    from memory, the C4 expose on SCI predated that time frame that Charles has mentoned, here’s the w’pedia link:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dignity_plc

    SCI trade (sic) in Canada and US as ‘Dignity Memorial’

    here’s a link to one of their shops in Vancouver:-

    http://www.dignitymemorial.ca/glenhaven-memorial-chapel/en-ca/index.page

    their websites are all the same, simply add the individual details

    andrew

  5. Lee Bengough

    Thursday 31st January 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Ah I see, thank you for giving me the answer to my question.

    Even though our local one has been taken over by Dignity DJ Thomas & Son Bargoed, South Wales, the old owner Elvert Watson still helps out, he started off working for the Origional DJ Thomas years ago then when he died Elvert bought the business as Mr Thomas Son had no interest in following his father which I think its the same reason why Elvert sold to Dignity as I dont think his daughter had any interest in the business so hes sort of semi retired And helps out Steve Dignitys Funeral Director, fairplay mind Steve was brilliant told us all the prices as he knew we didnt have a lot of money and he even said when he heard us saying that we were going to go straight to the cemetery from my Aunties House He said that we could use the Chapel of rest free of charge for a service if we like so we did.

    I know there has been quite a few things raised about Dignity and obviously I cant vouch for their other branches but I can for their Bargoed Branch and its ran like if Elvert Watson still owns it.

    • Friday 1st February 2013 at 9:31 am

      This is really good to hear, Lee, and long may it be so! There are many fine and decent people who work for Dignity and do their best for bereaved people. There may be question marks over what motivates the senior management, and there may be question marks over Dignity’s incredibly high prices. But this is a firm which is luckier than it may deserve in the staff it employs.

  6. Thursday 31st January 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Dignity UK was spawned by Dignity US — more specifically SCI. When SCI was disgraced on television it pulled out of the UK. The Dignity you know and love today was the outcome of a UK management buyout.

  7. Lee Bengough

    Thursday 31st January 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Out of curiosity is Dignity UK and Dignity USA linked in anyway?

  8. RICHARD NEWMAN

    Sunday 11th March 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Dear Gloria,

    ‘Cosi’

    ‘Perhaps nowhere did Mozart’s poetic sense blossom more happily than in this work’

    If you feel the need to speak to me about your experience with Dignity, Charles (or Chazzer as he is known in the fleshpots of London!) will give you my telephone number.

  9. Jonathan

    Sunday 11th March 2012 at 9:41 am

    I can’t imagine what’s getting under your skin about this, Gloria. Personally, I can’t wait for my dear ones to die, for the sheer privilege of them to one of this Caring Firm’s ‘location portfolios’ to repose until being chauffeured by one of their £4.7 million pound Hearses to a resting place in the Garden of Remembrance at their Crematoria Division.

  10. Saturday 10th March 2012 at 10:36 am

    Thank you Richard, I’m not only well, but now also I forge ahead like a ship in full sail, with your encouragement working like Mozart’s wonderful aria in “Cosi,” “Suave sia il vento,” a blessing on my voyages, and…where was I?

  11. RICHARD NEWMAN

    Saturday 10th March 2012 at 12:38 am

    Dear Gloria.

    I hope this finds you well.

    This is your wisest contribution to date.

    Go to it Girl!!

  12. Friday 9th March 2012 at 4:02 pm

    This isn’t about funerals, it’s about disposing of bodies, with however much outdated pomp and large black cars you like, and selling a very odd and INAO unnecessary instalment plan. In my experience, Dignity don’t do funerals (i.e. ceremonies) in any sense. They do body-handling and expensive car journeys. The ones I work with (or used to, before I QUIT) don’t stay in the room. Vicars, celebrants, ministers and priests, they do funerals.

    I’d like Dignity to rebrand themselves not as funeral directors but as high-cost body handlers. I suggest we refer to them now and henceforth as “Dignity, the well-known and highly successful chains of body handlers.”

    The Co-ops round ‘ere are small and not too Co-opish, and some of them do stay in the room. Unlike Dignity.

    I like burials – the fornicators can’t go anywhere, they have to stand there in the rain with me and the bereaved (and about to be impoverished) mourners, and bloody well listen to me and whoever else is speaking, or at least pretend to do so.

    The independents – generally they stay in the room. And they talk to people.

    But never mind, Dignity are putting their profits into better hearses and limos.

    OK, this is unfair, Dignity also have the grimmer side of the work, that which I couldn’t get near. But whatever else they do, they don’t do funerals.

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