ITV’s upcoming undercover investigation into the funeral industry

Charles Cowling

It’s billed as an investigation into the unregulated world of the funeral industry, with some shocking undercover footage.’ From what we understand, it’s going to be that and more. 

The ITV exposé of deplorable behind-the-scenes practices is set to send buy cialis australia online shockwaves through the industry, once again exposing the impotence of industry trade associations to protect consumers by policing their members. 

The working title is The British Way of Death and it’s on ITV on 26 September Wednesday at 10.35 pm. 

 

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Edward Cutler
7 years ago

I think the Funeral Profession would be very difficult to regulate. If the industry was regulated with the same Code of Practice the NAFD enforce, would this have changed the content of this programme? The sheer disrespect for the deceased shown by the staff in this programme is something that no body or government could change without having constant monitoring. I do believe regulation would help in ensuring the consumer understands the costs and terms and conditions of the Funeral. I own and run a three branch operation in the West Midlands and am a proud member of the NAFD.… Read more »

JJ
JJ
7 years ago

Unfortunately the Corporate funeral Companies have adopted a policy of bringing in managers with no funeral experience. This works for a standard retail business but funerals are very specialised. The Corporates are only interested in management background and not funeral background. This thinking has a knock on affect with the standard of service delivered which is a result of a watered down version of training. Ask any operative, working for a Corporate,about the history of the profession and they would not know why they do what they do and the tradition behind it. You might ask the relevance, well you… Read more »

andrew plume
andrew plume
7 years ago
Reply to  JJ

great stuff ‘JJ’ and said with an immense amount of feeling/passion etc

andrew

JJ
JJ
7 years ago

..

Fran Hall
8 years ago

In response to Ken above – yes, I do know Ben and admire him greatly, his book ‘No Worse Enemy’ about his time embedded with troops in Afghanistan is compelling reading. No, neither Charles nor I have a cameo role in this latest documentary and yes, I do have some knowledge of the programme – the Natural Death Centre as an independent advice charity is the logical point of contact for any media looking at the UK funeral industry so we do tend to have our fingers on the pulse.

Ken Davis
Ken Davis
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran Hall

Thanks for your honesty Fran. I too have read the book yet wonder what have Mr Anderson’s experiences in Afghanistan to do with the disruption of funeral business in Britain unless it be simply a desire to witness conflict. Reading between the lines then, someone or something has encouraged Ben to reprise his role from the 1990s and your charity may have in some way pointed him towards a target or two ? At least that explains why your website is still carrying a “have you had a problem with a funeral director “? If so email Ben @ etc… Read more »

Murad
7 years ago
Reply to  Fran Hall

Actually, there is another raoesn besides funeral expenses if you develop a health condition at a later age and have had a policy since you were a kid you don’t have to worry about finding someone who will insure you when you are older.

Mark Elliott & Ann.L
8 years ago

I am hoping that this programme does not show deceased people on it because I find it of great disrespect to the person that has passed away. I think that the Media are forgetting that these are people’s loved ones. They are not bodies etc they are people and I shall wait to see what they show , but from what I have heard its not going to be all that good.

gloria mundi
8 years ago

Perhaps what we need is a really good doc series about our culture’s attitudes towards the end of life, the fact of mortality. Not just nuts and bolts, (i.e FDs and crematoria) but discussions and interviews about different sorts of people dealing with the knowledge that only humans amongst animals have (as far as we know) that “my life will end.” That might water the roots of our engagement with undertakers and celebrants; a sort of televisual Death Cafe. It would not be about “breaking the taboo” as the tired slogan has it; that’s much easier – paint your coffin,… Read more »

Helen
8 years ago
Reply to  gloria mundi

I am with you totally Gloria, I have been campaigning for a change in attitudes, having also written books on it following my mother’s death last year. Our denial of our mortality causes the greatest pain, fear and dysfunction! The superficial acts and rituals we undertake may satisfy the mind and ego but they will not alter the fact of death, that the ego cannot accept.

Helen
8 years ago

I hope this ‘expose’ will raise the most important point of all, which is our need to change to a healthier perspective on death and dying and that we must start talking rather than running away from the fact that at some point we and those we love will die. Managing probate can be more stressful than loss itself! In talking before the event, people will realise they have a range of choices, at a time when they are able to make decisions that are not clouded by grief, which in itself will bring the disreputable providers to accountability. Sadly… Read more »

Mr XX
Mr XX
8 years ago

They have responded – in their monthly magazine. They said it was regrettable that this sensational programme was ever made. They say everything shown was standard practice and reflected a truth the public should not be forced to see. The programme reflected badly on all funeral directors. The minor issues in the branch (failing to sell a simple funeral when asked) were being addressed by re-training.

So that’s all right then. Business as usual.

Mr XX
Mr XX
8 years ago

The largest trade association appears totally unwilling to criticise the big two – perhaps because they provide a large percentage of their annual revenue? How can you regulate the very people who help pay your salary? The NAFD response to the Funeralcare expose seemed to be ‘but everyone in the industry does it that way.’ Light is best shone in dark places. I believe the public should to be better informed before choosing a funeral director. Anything that makes people more questioning of the organisation they are about to entrust with the funeral, has to be a good thing doesn’t… Read more »

Nick Gandon
8 years ago
Reply to  Mr XX

I have yet to hear any response whatever from the NAFD on that matter, which is somewhat regrettable, given their position as self imposed arbiter of the “profession’s” standards.

Why the deafening silence?

Or have I missed the big bazooka yet again?

Simon Irons
Simon Irons
8 years ago

Of course, I am not suggestion for one movement that bad practice within the profession should not be addressed and certainly it should not be be allowed to to go unchallenged. I just do not believe that undercover filming is the way to expose it and address it. I tend to agree that the trade associations should do more. Many many good funeral directors either individuals or firms will be tarred with the very same bruch that will expose, I am guessing the activity in one or two funeral homes both corporate and independent. In fact if my info is… Read more »

Ken Davis
Ken Davis
8 years ago
Reply to  Simon Irons

Simon, I have read your contributions to this thing with interest and you do seem to make sense. As I have just said to Fran, I cant understand why she and others seem to want a fight ! Cant’ the Green and Environmental smaller guys just co exist alongside the Co-op/Dignity/without digging one another in the ribs ? It really is a bit petulant. I would really like to know how many contributors to this blog , who regularly criticise the Co-op , Dignity and other big firms, have ever worked for them ? My time with all of the… Read more »

Carole
Carole
8 years ago

Funerals are a strange one though aren’t they, when it comes to consumer consciousness? Because of our death denying culture it is so often not something that people really think about until they have no choice, and at that point they are not thinking clearly and possibly don’t even recognize that they are a consumer at all?
Perhaps as well as “expose” type documentaries it would be helpful to have more clever film making that will attract attention around the wonderful diverse choices available when someone dies.

Carole
Carole
8 years ago

My experience of the bereaved is that such is their altered state of awareness in the immediate aftermath of the death of someone they love, they often walk into the first funeral director they can find and start planning the funeral. They assume this person will take consummate care of the deceased and also assume they will be treated fairly when it comes to pricing. Although I worry for the desolation that could be felt by grieving people seeing the truth of what can actually happen behind the scenes, I also welcome good documentary making that will hopefully make people… Read more »

Nick Gandon
8 years ago

I find myself agreeing with Fran. If something needs fixing……

Fran Hall
8 years ago

Simon, Jonathan – I don’t believe that your assumptions are correct – far from being a call for regulation or a blight on the whole profession, Ben’s documentary is I believe a damning indictment of the lack of compliance with the NAFD Code of Conduct by two certain large businesses and an expose of the inefficient management therein that has allowed lax practices to flourish. Surely such a revelation is something that should be welcomed by anyone who wants to see an informed and wary public who asks intelligent questions of the person they trust with the care of their… Read more »

Ken Davis
Ken Davis
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran Hall

Fran, you write as though you have some knowledge of this programme. Do you know Ben?, do you and Charles have cameo roles ? The ITV listing just says that that there are some shocking scenes, it does not mention NAFD or any compliance stuff
Has Ben told you that only two companies are featured ? Which ones ? What else do you know ? come on, you’ve let it slip !

Tell us do !

Simon irons
Simon irons
8 years ago

No one should be thinking this is a good thing, the whole profession will suffer damage to its reputation, independents may want to be associated with exposed in their name on this programme. Those fuelling the fire of these programmes are not helping.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 years ago
Reply to  Simon irons

My thinking exactly, Simon. It sounds as if all it will accomplish is a call for the healing art of funeral management to be reduced to a regulated industry, with a prescribed procedure and with all the advantages that will confer on the wealthier group traders whose interest is consumeristic at heart. Let’s just hope that BBC 2’s idea of a funeral documentary, ‘Dead Good Job’ episode three, leaves a sweeter aroma when it ends; an hour and a half in the same evening before this Frankenstein’s monster pukes its bile into your living room. You can’t sweep darkness out… Read more »

Tracey Warren
8 years ago

Producer – Ben Anderson
Is this the same Ben Anderson of the Dignity expose 15 years ago ?

Ru Callender
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracey Warren

Yes Tracey it is. From what I understand this documentary will make the previous Co-op exposé look like a promotional video.

Mark Elliott & Ann.L
8 years ago

I wait with interest to see what this undercover investigation shows.

andrew plume
andrew plume
8 years ago

Hello Charles

yes, ‘the role of ‘the trade associations’ is solely to protect their members, ala ‘Funeralcare’ as the main offender, the consumers, well……………………….

regards

andrew