On 30 July, the FSCSR Steering Committee met to discuss the next steps for the project, in light of the challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Committee agreed some changes to the draft FSCSR Code. These changes included:
- a mandatory provision, prohibiting funeral directors from keeping hold of Ashes (cremated remains) in lieu of payment in any circumstances;
- the removal of all non-mandatory provisions from the Code (these will be used to produce a guidance document to accompany the Code); and
- the strengthening of two of the Codes mandatory principles.
While the sector is currently under significantly less pressure than it was only weeks ago, the Committee did not yet feel comfortable resuming the consultation process it suspended earlier this year. In particular, they were mindful that the threat posed by the coronavirus has not gone away and that a second wave of infections and consequent deaths is likely to occur over the coming months.
However, conscious that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is working to rigid statutory timescales that will not wait for the situation to improve, the Committee decided to share all responses received to its Standards Consultation Paper with the CMA, so that these can inform its ongoing investigation into the funerals market.