Channel 4’s Dispatches set to rumble the undertakers

Charles Cowling

Clement Freud arrives for his funeral

 

“Dispatches lifts the lid on the funeral industry. Using undercover filming, Jackie Long investigates what really happens to our loved ones when they die.”

Monday June 25 at 8.00pm. Channel 4. 

In certain districts of Funeralworld, fear stalks the streets.

Cancel all other appointments.

 

 

 

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Jane smith
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Jane smith

Do not send loved ones to co op funerals iam ex undertaker and co op are awful . Profits before peopleAlso hubs are a disgrace O

Omega
Guest
Omega

Shocking isn’t the word!!
Surely Charles and the good funeral guide wouldn’t sanction such cowboys.
Also sporting the Natural Death Society logo on their website.
To say I’m saddened by their actions is an understatement,please say you don’t condone this guys.

Simon Irons
Guest
Simon Irons

Searching YouTube to watch the programme again, I came across this video of independent funeral director recommended by this blog

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HLYu6K99aA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Now that is shocking !

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Dear Charles I am aware that in a previous post I bid you all farewell and came back to reply but now I feel I’ve said everything I needed to say. Many posts here have thrown accusations at funeralcare for which there is no proof and were never featured in the programme. For every large successful organisation that exists it will have its haters for whatever reason. I feel dispatches didn’t provide what many here wanted and therefore has created even more ill feeling amongst a few of the regulars. Maybe some should be wary about throwing stones and be… Read more »

David Holmes
Guest

I confess I was disappointed with the programme. Mostly because I had thought it would be a little less sensationalist and draw attention to the transparency issue that I believe seriously misleads clients. However, it was a start and certainly highlighted funerals being big business for the larger operators – literally on an industrial scale as well as industrial estates. Who benefits? I would hope consumers – who might take a little time to ask questions of their funeral director. Sadly to be realistic we must remember this expose was only on Channel 4 and a few tabloids. The majority… Read more »

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

Mr Employee

thx for your post

yours

andrew

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Andrew what you saw last night is NOT typical of funeralcare practice I can assure you.Also a wipe board system is perfectly adequate when used properly and managed well(as used in a majority of funeral homes both independent and larger).
I think what we have here is a few select individuals on this blog that are annoyed at the fact the programme didn’t contain quite what they expected. And as you well know the potential mix up of deceased is by no means exclusive to the co-operative.

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

also…………….

I very much hope that f’care tighten up their admin inside their ‘hubs’ so that they are aware of exactly who they have there – ‘wipe boards’ are clearly not the way to control that side of the organisation, surely they can afford to have someone there who can properly operate a pc? Sadly what the programme featured was the likelihood of bodies being mixed up, it was all too frentic

andrew

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

Dear Mr Employee Good to see you back and as Charles has previously said, a balanced argument is very necessary on here Unfortunately for the organisation, it was a damning indictment of (1) the unwillingness to supply the ‘basic funeral service” (2) general opposition to give the client exactly what they need; (3) a quest to sell clients more than they ever thought that they wanted; and (4)if you wish to see the deceased, then you will have to fit into our schedule etc etc I could go on, I really could but I have over the past few days,… Read more »

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Firstly Sue thankyou for the big boy comment as it made my day!
Secondly you said “when WE are ready to release the evidence” do I take it that you work for a secret organisation with damning footage that will blow the funeral business wide open?
I don’t know about my pipe but whatever you put in yours don’t get caught with it as it illegal!!

Richard Russell
Guest
Richard Russell

Sue, you really are narrow minded… As stated, there are always a “few bad apples” in all practices, even within the precious independants. I felt both angry and sad that these morons were allowed near the public and also screened on national T.V, and obviously will be out of the door hopefully with a size 9 footprint on there butts. At the end of the day it was 25mins of propaganda and shock tactics for ratings… Back to my pipe…

sue
Guest
sue

Hey big boy I dont need to provide evidence I have seen far worst than what the viewers have seen this evening and the evidence is not for you that is for the public when we are ready to release the evidence in several areas put that in your pipe and smoke it

Nick Gandon
Guest

Have to say that the programme was nowhere near as cutting as I had expected. It was, given the evidence, almost fair. It looked as if Mr Tinning was expecting far worse, judging by his YouTube presentation offered prior to the programme being aired. I actually found myself feeling sorry for him. I felt that the programme illustrated just how easy it is to lose control of an operation that has perhaps both grown a little too large, and does not have staff of sufficient, real experience, at all levels of the operation to back-up the advertising hype. Add the… Read more »

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Sue,would you like to provide proof of these outrageous claims?
Or did the programme not provide the content you and so many others were hoping for?
Also a strange choice of phrase “donkey deceased” would never spring to my mind but I’m sure it made sense to you.

afforddignity
Guest
afforddignity

I am glad the co-op have been shown up for what they are !!!!!
I think George Tinning is a very poor actor and knows full well what these people are up to, its all about the money !!!!!

Simon irons
Guest
Simon irons

Sounded to me that it was the undercover reporter that suggested taking the lid off the coffin and the bearer saying we should not be doing this, very unfair

sue
Guest
sue

Tell your daughter to get a job with the independents as co-op may be exposed n one area but believe me it goes on in many areas I wouldnt leave a donkey deceased in their care
they charge over £1000 more than others and they treat deceased worst than we would treat a dead animal
A bunch of crooks

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

@not disclossed
Please tell your daughter to go into work tomorrow with her head held high and build on the foundations she has already laid in being a valued member and employee of Co-operative Funeralcare.
The programme showed some bad working practices of one or two individuals and rest assured this will be dealt with immediately.

sue
Guest
sue

How disgusting this is for the love of a person who has passsed away one would expect dignity and respect I have to say this reminds me of a scene from a war film however, to reasure the public I urge you to go to your local independent who will care for a loved one with respect and dignity the time has come to drop the the national companies they made 52 million out of the people bereaved and the independent can be up to £1000 cheaper than they are and give 100% better level of care The MD knows… Read more »

not disclossed
Guest
not disclossed

The story seams to only look at this subject from one side, and that was as negative as possible.It also focussed on one area but made it sound like this was throughout all the Coop’s. My Daughter started over 6 months ago and it has devastated her,making her feel really bad, when she puts everything into been as compassionate as possible. Many people have commented on her professionalism and thanked her for her arranging skills. You did not mention on the dispatches program at any time that this is only related to the parlors you looked into and from an… Read more »

Nick Gandon
Guest

PERCEPTION PERCEPTION PERCEPTION. Tonight’s programme may contain a number of unforgivable insights into bad practise, but I’ll guess that the majority of the programme will highlight the purely “industrial” scale how some FD’s operate. Perhaps the wood is too close to the trees, and those in charge have failed to stop for a moment, and consider what the average man or woman in the street would regard as acceptable. With the exception of allowing NoK to witness an autopsy or the embalming process, I personally feel that every other process or room in a funeral establishment should be open for… Read more »

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

thanks AN Employee

not, imo, the correct comparison but I take your point, thankyou

with any P&G product, it’s not crucial if ‘one get’s it wrong’ – plenty of scope to try others – that’s not the case when arranging a funeral, it’s a one off and there’s no opportunity to experiment with another product

regards

andrew

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

and personally, I’ve never been comfortable with their use of the term ‘care’ – on the face of it, there’s an immediate escalation (on their part) to being seen to be the best (all marketing pr speak of course)…but………

Andrew,come on man!
In 2011 Proctor and Gamble spent just shy of $2.95 billion on advertising,and why? Think about it.
The whole point of advertising is to convince the public that you are the best and they should use/buy your product,of course it’s marketing speak…advertising is marketing…geez!

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Oh brilliant, now the usual suspects are currying favour with The Daily Mail and The Sun tabloids and their “views” on Monday’s Dispatches. Because both those gutter rags are known for their moralistic stance and non-sensationalist headlines aren’t they? You lot are priceless!! Take a little time to view the reader comments underneath the attention grabbing headlines and read a few comment from “real” people. I’m particularly shocked by the sub-picture the Sun used for this story of a multi rack system in a mortuary because you’ll never see those in any hospital or any funeral directors in the uk… Read more »

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

……..and following the post re Whipps Cross Hospital, it (now) seems from the attached that f’care provide similar services for other NHS Trusts (or at least have tendered for these):-

http://www.voiceoftynedale.net/lettertosingletonssolicitors.pdf

http://www.voiceoftynedale.net/firstlettercoop1.pdf

http://www.voiceoftynedale.net/nhsfrombeachcroft.pdf

(which followed a complaint by Mr John Watson)

am I/are we to assume that if said ‘tenders’ were approved, have f’care set up similar ‘funeral arranging practices’ in those Hospitals as well?

andrew

Mr XX
Guest
Mr XX

Now Mail online have put it up. Funeralcare are blaming their staff. Yeah, right. Pull the other one.

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

David: “…useless and backward the toothless trade associations really are…” – but isn’t there another trade org, namely ‘Funeral Standards Council’?, which doesn’t seem to have it’s own website but from memory, I have only ever seen their logo advertised on f’care shop fronts…………….? Now, why may that precisely be…? “….I think we can safely assume the funeralcare brand is no longer a good asset..” – yes, hopefully so, it’s ‘major banana skin time’ after their truly expensive advertising campaign on TV a couple of years ago (in promoting their funeral plans) and personally, I’ve never been comfortable with their… Read more »

Joy
Guest
Joy

Hello Andrew. This comment I know is very late, but do you know if there are 2 co-op Funeral Business’s, I have just had to arrange a funeral and used the local independent business and to my horror found out they were owned by co-op. So I had a meeting with 2 gentlemen and told them I would never have paid a single penny to them. Straight away I was told they were a different co-op! and were nothing to do with the Dispatches prog. They are Midcounties co-op. So I have done a little research and I think they… Read more »

andrew plume
Guest
andrew plume

and the ‘remarks’ on the Sun’s website, to this story (to date) make grim reading for f’care and so they should

profit, profit, profit, nothing at all else, bodies and their loved ones are simply pawns for profit

andrew

Mr XX
Guest

Nick, I think your story perfectly illustrates just how useless and backward the toothless trade associations reallyare.

The NAFD desperately needs needs the fees from the big two and so cannot properly regulate them. SAIF now seems to be little more than an organisation promoting Golden Charter pre paid plans? The insult is that they then pay members a fraction of what they received from the client.

Perhaps what is badly needed is a new trade association (groans) for genuine independent businesses not desperate to maintain the status-quo and last century thinking.

Nick Gandon
Guest

The suggestion of need for regulation usually pops up around these type of programmes. Personally, I feel that existing powers held by local authorities are, when used, quite adequate. Looking to good ol’ USA… They have regulation coming out of their ears – and little good it seems to do. Some of the horror stories that hit the news headlines… Other means of keeping the lid ON the situation is by membership of the NAFD and/or SAIF. Usually, but not necessarily a guarantee of quality of service. I applied for membership of the NAFD earlier this year, and the application… Read more »

Mr XX
Guest

Today’s (Sunday) Sun newspaper sets the tone. The boss is reported to be ‘shocked’ at the discoveries. I wonder at which point he didn’t know about the factory units or the conduct of his staff?

I think we can safely assume the funeralcare brand is no longer a good asset.

Fran Hall
Guest

Crikey – I leave the country (and all things death related) for a couple of weeks in search of some sun, and come back to an unprecedented flurry of comments on one of your posts Charles – 56 and counting – what’s going on??? It seems to me that the mere thought of the probing lens of the Dispatches ‘Undercover Undertaker’ reaching behind the velveteen curtains of Chapels of Rest across the UK has sent the funeral providers into a flat spin, which perhaps indicates that a revisiting of Ben Anderson’s acclaimed documentary doing the same is long overdue… At… Read more »

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

David, competition in business is nothing new and if you see that as a problem then your very naive. How are you going to feel if M&S or Tesco decided to take a slice of the uk funeral market? If you don’t up your game then you will go out of business so it pays to stay sharp and one step ahead. Now i have heard of yourself and no doubt you do conduct a good funeral and have some glowing thankyou cards from satisfied clients but when I took a look at your website I was greeted by content… Read more »

afforddignity
Guest
afforddignity

We also received an email from the man in incharge telling us not to speak to anyone from the press after the programme goes out if contacted. and to ensure we uphold the good reputation of the company they are very worried indeed

afforddignity
Guest
afforddignity

Having worked for the “bigboys” or a poor relation for the past few years I am very pleased!!!! that some one has finally made a programme about them. I feel that this has been along time coming. This is purely based on personal experiance I Have not had much to do with the smaller family buisnesses but these guys are running a money making machiene all we ever hear about is figures and targets there is no one watching or controlling what happens with peoples loved ones. The guys that are dealing with and preparing the deceased have no training… Read more »

David Holmes
Guest

I always keep one thing in mind and it’s not an original thought. If this was my Gran or Granddad, Mum, Dad, daughter or son, what would I want to happen? Many, not all clients want the deceased moved from what they know is usually a large hospital mortuary into our care as quickly as possible. These clients would certainly not want the deceased transferred to an open plan refrigeration facility on a remote industrial estate. They could of course avoid this by asking some pertinent questions when arranging at a High St office. If that sounds smug then I… Read more »

Simon Irons
Guest
Simon Irons

They are located in a mid sized industrial unit in the same road ….. and no I am not going to name them…… but they are there and that’s a fact.

Tarquin
Guest

Simon

No, I don’t believe there are any independent funeral directors that work out of the Funeralcare Glasgow Regional Office. Unless you’d care to name them I believe you are wrong.

Nick Gandon
Guest

A.N.Employee,

TA! Just Checking….

“Competition has been shown to be useful
up to a certain point and no further,
but cooperation, which is the thing
we must strive for today,
begins where competition leaves off.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Agree 100%

Nick

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Amen to your eloquent post Simon.
And they most definitely don’t come across as self righteous.
However I did break a smile whilst reading them 😉

Simon Irons
Guest
Simon Irons

Tarquin Is that same Glasgow site that also house the premises of an independent funeral director……… Forgot to post that didn’t you! David You have at your disposal ? Think that means you have these facilities a your HUB David, I think I can be forgiven for having fat fingers and a small keypad whenposting on an intenet blog, on a client facing website designed to enhance and promote the reputation of my business I think you can be assured that I would be a a little more careful with my grammar or even get the information correct (since when… Read more »

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

Blimey Nick I thought you were following this thread!
I don’t believe you’ve posted anything that warrants that reference.

“Competition has been shown to be useful
up to a certain point and no further,
but cooperation, which is the thing
we must strive for today,
begins where competition leaves off.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nick Gandon
Guest

“The smell of self righteousness and sour grapes are in abundance….what a shame”.

I sincerely hope that this comment does not refer to me.

Richard Russell
Guest
Richard Russell

Never a truer sentance written A.N.Employee!! Total agreement with you there.

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

The smell of self righteousness and sour grapes are in abundance….what a shame.

David Holmes
Guest

Simon. You’re very sensitive. Is this because you feel stung? Do you work for funeralcare? I’m afraid if you are going to criticize grammar, you need to write better than you do! For example, what is a ‘fully compliment embalming room’ for goodness sake? At my disposal, I have every facility needed to run a successful funeral business. My office is stacked full of cards from grateful families who appreciated a personal caring approach. I may add, just in case you do have the misfortune to work for a ghastly Co-op, my facilities are not in a shed on an… Read more »

Tarquin
Guest

Quentin

One example that springs to mind is Unit 2, Bogmoor Place, Glasgow, G51 4TQ.

Here is a convenient url to see it on Bing Maps:

http://binged.it/KRFuxk

Unit 1 (the left hand side of the building) is the Funeralcare coffin manufacturing plant. Unit 2 (the right hand side of the building) is the regional body warehouse. They have a large mortuary, embalming facilities, a large garage area, offices, etc.

This warehouse is on an industrial estate. It also holds the deceased for a large part of the Funeralcare Glasgow region. If I was that bothered I could post more…

Simon Irons
Guest
Simon Irons

David I don’t think I have said I agree or disagree with large or small mortuary facilities. in fact my view is that size does not matter, it’s what goes on within that counts. Poor standards and poor behaviours have to be removed form out profession but the behaviours of any specific individual should not be allowed to taint the whole business or group of businesses. Dispatches exposed specific nursin home staff abusing elderly patients but that does not mean all nursing home care staff or all those working there were guilty as well. You clealy have a very successful… Read more »

A.N.Employee
Guest
A.N.Employee

I have no knowledge of this arrangement so cannot offer any worthy argument to the contrary,sorry. Now we could go on and on about why “small” have a beef with “large” organisations (or vice versa)but that would be a tiresome and pointless exercise that could run for ever. We are all in this business to offer the very best we can to our families be we large or small and what I don’t like to see is all this venomous rubbing of hands wishing ill on our competitors and from what Ive been reading on here it would appear that… Read more »