The Good Funeral Guide Accreditation Scheme

The Good Funeral Guide’s accreditation scheme for funeral directors is designed to connect bereaved people to the best practitioners in funeral service. 

In a crowded marketplace, GFG accreditation enables you to stand out from your competitors and serve more families.  

Accreditation will yield results if you market it properly. It can:

  • Generate favourable publicity
  • Enable you to stand visibly above your competitors
  • Bring you clients
  • Raise staff morale 
  • Improve your bottom line

GFG accreditation thus benefits consumers and best funeral directors alike.

About the Good Funeral Guide

The Good Funeral Guide is a not-for-profit social enterprise company (CIC 07818343).

Our mission is to support, empower and represent the interests of dying and bereaved people living in the UK. 

The focus of our work is the identification of best practice from a consumer point of view. We believe that bereaved people are best supported when they are guided to people who will look after them best. 

The credibility of the GFG is founded in its integrity and independence. We have worked tirelessly since 2008 to prove our worth, establish ourselves as a trusted consumer resource and demonstrate that we do not seek to develop the GFG as a vehicle for commercial gain. 

We know what we’re talking about. We are fair. Our record speaks for itself. We are uniquely qualified to offer third-party endorsement of your work. 

About the GFG Accreditation Scheme

Our accreditation framework focuses on evaluating the consumer experience your service offers.

In particular, our framework will enable us to verify on behalf of funeral consumers that, whomever they talk to within your business, they will be:

  • Treated with courtesy
  • Listened to with empathy
  • Offered the full range of choice
  • Charged fairly
  • Empowered to play their part in creating a send-off for the person they have lost which accords with their values and wishes.

Above all, our accreditation framework enables us to tell consumers that we have been and we have seen, and to reassure them that, to the best of our knowledge, you will look after the person they have lost with the utmost respect.

In order to do this, we need to demonstrate that we have been thorough. Don’t forget: the reputation of the GFG rides on this, too. That’s our incentive for getting it right.

What does the accreditation process involve?

The process for applicants comprises:

  1. A self-assessment report (there is no cost for this first stage).
  2. Taking up of third-party references
  3. A video interview with the Board of Directors of the Good Funeral Guide
  4. A detailed premises visit including in-depth interviews with the owner/manager of the business and other key personnel

The process is not adversarial. It is about conversation, not cross-examination.

Who will come to visit you?

Your assessor will not be a funeral industry insider but, rather, one or more of the directors of the Good Funeral Guide. None of the directors have any interest in any funeral home.

What do you get?

If successful, you will receive:

  • Informed, independent endorsement of your quality
  • A full review of your funeral home on your own page of the Good Funeral Guide website
  • A ‘Recommended by the Good Funeral Guide’ annual window sticker
  • A ‘Recommended by the Good Funeral Guide’ annual electronic logo, licensed for use in advertising, on your website and in print.
  • A certificate verifying that we have visited your premises.
  • A press release with which to announce your achievement in your community.

It is rare for any funeral home to proceed to the second stage of the assessment and then fail to achieve official recommendation. We only visit a funeral home if the self-assessment and references are satisfactory.

What if you fail?

Any funeral home that does not meet our standards may reapply after six months, at their own cost, if it has implemented recommended changes.

Safeguards

We never reveal information about you that is commercially sensitive.

We monitor consumer feedback meticulously before it is published on the website. When we receive negative feedback we investigate, resolve or refute. 

Our sort of funeral director

Do we favour one sort of funeral director over another? No. Our listing is a resource for all bereaved people, whose values and needs are various. Look at our present listings and you will see that we offer equality of respect to all outstanding funeral directors, whether traditional or ‘alternative’. All that matters is that all of our recommended funeral directors are superb in their own right.

How do we judge?

We use a mix of both quantitative and qualitative criteria to evaluate your funeral home. See We Believe below.

A paid-for service

No one can buy a GFG recommendation. But there are costs involved in the process of assessment, and we must cover our costs. The scheme has to pay for itself. If a self-assessment form and references indicate that a business would be suitable for GFG accreditation, the accreditation fee will be invoiced and must be paid before we proceed to the interview and visit stages.

Charges are always hard to bear. But an authoritative and independent third-party endorsement that differentiates you from your competitors will earn you substantial reputational and commercial benefit. 

Our recommended funeral directors tell us that accreditation quickly pays for itself. 

What is the price of Good Funeral Guide accreditation?

The cost of accreditation takes into account 

  • what we need to do
  • the time it will take to do it
  • the costs incurred 

 

Cost breakdown

The fee for the initial accrediton of a funeral business with one branch is £600 plus travel costs. (Our preferred method of travel is by public transport unless this is not practical; wherever possible we strive to minimise our carbon footprint, so we will explore all public transport options before opting to use a private car. When we visit you, we expect to spend at least half a day with you.) 

  • £300 – the fee we pay an expert assessor. 
  • £150 registration fee – to cover administration costs plus certificate, window sticker and postage. 
  • £150 – paid to the Good Funeral Guide CIC – to support our work and reimburse directors for time spent interviewing applicants.
  • Assessor’s travel expenses.

The fee for accrediting a funeral home with more than one branch will incur an additional £50 per branch. We would require you to organise transport between branches.

The annual renewal fee for Recommended funeral directors is presently set at £100 a year and may be adjusted to reflect increased costs to us (e.g. printing, postage, etc.), with an additional fee of £150 payable in year 3 to cover the costs of the required virtual meeting with our Board of Directors to ensure we are updated on any changes to the business. 

After a further three years a similar virtual visit will be required along with an in-person re-visit to your premises, both of which will be charged at the prevailing rate.

The costs for six years as a Good Funeral Guide Recommended funeral director therefore total just over £200 per annum (£600 + £100 + £100 + £250 + £100 + £100)

What you need to do now

If you would like to apply for accreditation, please study our appraisal criteria below under the We Believe section, together with the Frequently Asked Questions.

If you wish to proceed, then request and complete the self-assessment form from our CEO, Fran Hall at fran.hall@goodfuneralguide.co.uk . Once we receive the completed form, we’ll be in touch. 

Applications for accreditation are put forward to the GFG Board of Directors at dedicated board meetings that take place every six months. There may therefore be a delay before you are advised whether your application will proceed to the second interview and visit stage.

We Believe...

At the GFG we believe that good FDs are characterised by their kindness, respect, empathy and professionalism. Translated into best practice, this means that they:

  • Allow the client to take all the time they need
  • Respect the client’s right to shop around
  • Explore options in order to enable the customer to achieve the funeral experience they want and need:
    • the right ceremony
    • the right minister/celebrant (if required)
    • at the right place and time
    • at the right price
  • Are willing to support clients who wish to care for their dead at home
  • Make the client feel welcome on your premises
  • Help the client have a good ‘visiting’ experience
  • Recognise and respect the rights, dignity and privacy of the person who has died
  • Operate effective mortuary procedures and rituals in respect of safeguarding the privacy and dignity of those who have died
  • Are transparent about ownership
  • Employ staff who reflect their ethos
  • Strive to deliver continuity of care
  • Commit to ongoing professional and business development
  • Engage with the wider community
  • Care for the environment

To verify that a business meets these ideals we will explore and appraise all aspects of best practice, including:

  • The core values of the business and how they are carried through into practice.
  • Staff (recruitment, training, motivation, reward, retaining, developing, letting go, deputising)
  • The way that collections are carried out
  • On the day – delivering the right send-off
  • Arrangement process
  • Continuity of care 
  • Mortuary practice & care of people who have died
  • Disability support
  • Child friendliness
  • Follow-up activities
  • Resources for clients
  • Embracing customer cultural diversity
  • Hours of business and availability
  • Pricing
  • Products and services
  • Premises
  • Vehicles
  • Parking facilities and public transport links
  • Community engagement
  • Marketing materials
  • Website
  • Client Enquiry Response
  • Use of social media
  • Environmental policy

Frequently Asked Questions

Good Funeral Guide accreditation does not overlap or in any way take the place of trade association inspections. GFG accreditation scrutinizes a funeral home from the particular perspective of the consumer experience it delivers. We may of course ask general questions about identification, waste disposal, etc.

Nothing costs nothing. Someone has to pay. There are three available business models for a scheme like ours. Either (1) advertising pays (TripAdvisor) or (2) the customer pays (Good Food Guide) or (3) the service provider pays (Good Pub Guide) 

We won’t have advertising and we won’t charge bereaved people because we don’t want to hide the names of lots of good funeral directors behind a paywall. We have therefore opted for the third alternative, the service provider (the funeral company) pays.

If a funeral director is going to benefit commercially, it seems reasonable to charge them for the service at cost.

We do everything we can make sure that you incur no unnecessary charges – but we have to cover our costs too.

Our fees cover the cost of administering the scheme (the registration fee), the cost of the interview with our directors, our assessment visit and the preparation of a review. 

We ask for full payment of the fee when your self-assessment form has been successfully approved.

The fee for the accreditation process pays for our time to review your application form and references, interview you, visit and assess you. Even if you are not successful, there is value in this because our confidential report, where we tell you where you fell short of our criteria, can be used to improve your business. But we always try to screen out all funeral homes that fall short of our standards during the initial stages of the process, when we scrutinise self-assessment and references.

We don’t offer payment in instalments – this would add to our administration and banking costs and add to our administrative burden.

Yes, but credible endorsement, I’m sure we agree, can only come from people who know what they are talking about from on-the-ground experience. 

We think bereaved people deserve more than assurances based on self-certification. Our CEO is a highly qualified industry expert with decades of experience in the sector and a keen eye for exceptional funeral businesses, and our executive directors have many years of working alongside funeral directors, creating and delivering funeral ceremonies,

Accreditation is renewed annually for two years, then we will arrange to carry out a virtual meeting with you in the third year to update ourselves on any changes since we came to visit you. There will be an additional fee in year 3 to cover the costs involved with the meeting. 

Your accreditation will then continue year on year with the annual renewal fee, until year 6, when an in-person re-visit will be required. The cost of re-visiting in year 6 will be the same as the prevailing cost of a new accreditation visit and follow the same process. 

We shall visit you, spend 3-4 hours with you and edit your review on the strength. It is vital that we can guarantee to consumers that we have up to date knowledge of the companies we recommend.

We are always happy to discuss our findings – we recognise that we might have got something wrong or misunderstood you.

Certainly not – we respect your confidentiality and always prefer to promote and celebrate good practice.

No – that wouldn’t be fair to consumers.

We monitor feedback meticulously before it is published on the website. When we receive negative feedback, we investigate, resolve or refute. 

You can seek accreditation from any number of organisations. Our research informs us that, for a typical standalone funeral home, the cost of accreditation by, for example Customer First would be in the region of £3,000.