Charter for the bereaved
The Charter rights
The Charter identifies the following 33 rights:
- It is your right to have a burial organised and conducted in a dignified and orderly manner, supported by competent professional and caring cemetery staff.
- It is your right to inspect statutory cemetery records.
- It is your right to buy a private grave for a period of not more than 100 years. (This "Right of Burial" is a grave for one or more burials, and upon which you can place a memorial. A burial fee is also payable).
- It is your right to choose to be buried in an unpurchased grave. (You cannot reserve space for further burials in this type of grave, nor do you have any right to place a memorial. Further unrelated burials will happen in the future, the grave being 'recycled'. For each burial, a fee is payable).
- It is your right to place a memorial or to leave the grave unmarked.
- It is your right and responsibility to maintain a memorial upon a grave during the period of grave rights granted to you. The memorial cannot be disturbed or moved during this period without your permission, unless it poses a safety hazard. The safe erection and maintenance of the memorial is your responsibility.
Ceremonies and belief
- It is your right to hold a burial or cremation service at the cemetery or crematorium and define the type of music and ceremony.
- It is your right to define the type of religious or secular (non-religious) format of the service.
Coffins and alternatives
- It is your right to choose the type and design of coffin (within some regulations).
- It is your right to get a coffin through your Charter member (bio-degradable type).
It is your right to be made aware of all unknown environmental issues relating to bereavement services. (Full details are given in the Reference Copy of the Charter for the Bereaved).
Social and community aspects
It is your right to receive a service that recognises your needs, without unfairness or discrimination, e.g. religious belief, ethnic needs, disability, etc.
Funerals without a funeral director (independent funerals)
- It is your right to organise a funeral without the use of a funeral director.
- It is your right, as executor (or next of kin) to be given the body by a mortuary, hospital, etc. in order to carry out a funeral.
- It is your right to be given a leaflet by your Charter member describing how to arrange an independent funeral.
Maintenance of grounds and grave-digging
- It is your right to be shown a specified standard of grounds maintenance. Where standards fail to meet the specification, you have the right to complain.
- It is your right to be given a list of regulations used by your Charter member.
- It is your right to be given a written explanation of the reason why a regulation has been used to restrict or otherwise influence your rights.
Staff and expertise
It is your right to receive a quality service provided by trained and qualified staff. Where service standards fail, you have a right to question the level of expertise shown and to receive assurances regarding the ability of those involved.
- It is your right to be given an inspection of the cemetery or crematorium at any reasonable time.
- It is your right to be given a copy of the Guiding Principles of Burial and Cremation Services or the Code of Cremation Practice under which your Charter member operates.
It is your right to use the grievance procedure if you are dissatisfied about any service provided by your Charter member. You can complain 'on the spot' if you have the opportunity. If you continue to be dissatisfied, a series of stages can be followed. Copies of the grievance procedure are available from your Charter member. Any Charter member who fails to offer the specified rights will have their Charter membership withdrawn.
Using a funeral director
It is your right to be given a copy of the item Information on using a funeral director (from the Reference Copy of the Charter for the Bereaved) by your Charter member. A small fee may be payable. This describes the funeral 'package', the absence of price transparency, the impact of large commercial firms, funeral pre-payment plans. etc.
It is your right to be given a copy of the item 'Information on Embalming' (from the Reference Copy of the Charter for the Bereaved) by your Charter member. A small fee may be payable. This describes the process of embalming, often referred to as cosmetic treatment by funeral directors. It addresses the issues of environmental impact and whether the process is necessary.