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FCSCR Steering Group chair appointed

FCSCR Steering Group Chair Appointed

Lewis Shand Smith, a former Chief Ombudsman and independent Chair of the Dispute Resolution Service Implementation Steering Group, has been appointed independent chair of the Funeral Service Consumer Standards Review Steering Group. Mr Shand Smith also served as Chief Executive of the Ombudsman Service and has significant experience serving on the boards of companies and organisations, in either a non-executive director or trustee capacity and is a respected consumer champion.

The Funeral Service Consumer Standards Review (FSCSR) is an independently-chaired project that brings together the skills and knowledge of industry experts and key stakeholders with a view to improving quality, standards and outcomes for funeral service consumers. The steering group comprises representatives from funeral firms large and small -– and those both in trade association membership and those not – as well as consumer representatives and other industry stakeholders with an interest in funeral matters.

Lewis Shand Smith said: “The Funeral Service Consumer Standards Review is a great opportunity for renewal and fresh thinking and I am delighted to be a part of it.

“What’s great about the FSCSR is that it is an industry initiative. The funeral sector is to be admired and congratulated for its proactivity in tackling those things that aren’t quite working right. Collaboration is happening across the sector and there’s a genuine willingness to break down barriers and modernise thinking – as well as services.

“I hope that the whole sector buys in to what we’re trying to do here – but it will also be important to make sure we’ve got government backing for what we’re doing, and that’s an important part of my role.”

The FSCSR was initiated to assess how standards and quality of service are inspected and reviewed and to develop joint solutions to existing issues, make clear recommendations to Government and produce at an agreed code of practice and approach to how pricing information is made available to the public. The creation of the group was referenced in the Competition and Markets Authority’s final report, recommending a market investigation.

Secretariat for the group will be provided jointly by funeral industry trade associations, the National Association of Funeral Directors and Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.