The Federation of African & Caribbean Funeral Operatives (FACFO) today stands with empathy in response to the circulating social media and recent allegations of a funeral director acting against the necessary standards and ethics in place to protect the deceased and their loved ones.
The nationally publicised case and distressing footage of a funeral director who has been arrested and bailed after four bodies of African or Caribbean elders were allegedly found “in a state of decomposition” and “maggot-ridden” underscores the fact that certification and accreditation is not mandatory to become a funeral operative.
FACFO would like to stress the fact that the funeral director in question was not listed within its directory and is in no way affiliated with the organisation, which strives to establish itself as a culturally-focused death care authority. FACFO affiliates and the majority of British funeral operatives give their lives to their vocation and work to the highest professional standards. They conduct their business with specialist equipment in appropriate, sanitary and temperature-controlled premises that are staffed with skilled and respectful employees.
Families who contract with FACFO can expect to be treated with the utmost respect. Receiving timely and correct information to make informed decisions at each stage of the funerary process. People from all ethnic groups are welcome to engage the services of operatives listed in the FACFO directory and can learn about their rights as consumers of funeral services.
Historically and culturally Britain’s African and Caribbean communities have a distinct view of death, especially during the delicate time of transition or celebration of life; with the day of the funeral typically characterised by traditions and rituals specific to the deceased’s ethnic culture, social status and ancestral lineage.
Consideration of the journey of the soul of the deceased is observed very highly by those of African and Caribbean descent from the moment of passing, up to their wake keeping and after their burial, so the current case has caused significant grief, upset and horror. The community is calling for greater regulation and reckoning for unscrupulous funeral operators who disrespect our deceased and do not uphold expected standards and duties of care.
Professionals from African and Caribbean communities providing the valuable services of care from the moment of diagnosis to end of life, throughout the funeral arrangement, ceremonial services and cessation of grief are encouraged to work with FACFO to guarantee exceptional care and bespoke services by joining the directory:
Bereavement is one of the most vulnerable times we will all face. FACFO advises all British consumers of the following key points that should be fully satisfied before choosing a funeral director:
● With time and sensitivity the funeral director has explained the extent of their authority and role in regard to decision making and care of your loved one.
● You are able to visit the premises from which the funeral director operates – the place for visitors; where the deceased is kept including refrigeration, and a clean space where washing, preparing, embalming, and dressing the body, will take place.
● Unless fair explanation has been given, either you or an authorised representative is able to view, wash and dress the body of your loved one if desired.
● You feel listened to and your culture, needs, and wishes have been understood, considered or appreciated by the funeral director, and thereby reflected in their managing the process.
● The reputation of the funeral director is positive and the presentation of the premises and employees are very satisfactory
● The fees involved and times scales in which all fees must be paid have been explained and documented by the funeral director or arranger.
Furthermore as per CMA Guidelines:
Funeral directors must display a standardised price list and their terms of business. This will allow you to understand the cost, avoid unexpected fees, manage your budget and compare the prices of different funeral directors more easily.
● You are happy with the person who will be conducting the funeral service and have been advised of your options should you choose to work with someone else.
FACFO is an independent directory for professional end of life and funeral operatives, suppliers and funeral service providers ensuring Britain’s African and Caribbean communities the access to operatives that provide culturally specific services.
FACFO addresses the lack of diversity and cultural representation within the funeral industry. This status quo is indicative of the systemic racism, socio-economic disadvantages and entrepreneurship obstacles faced by African and Caribbean peoples in the UK.
Notionally formed in 2015, registered in 2020 and launched in 2021, the directory which was founded by Laura D. Pusey has established and maintains high professional standards of care for the bereaved and the deceased.
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