Corporate Social Responsibility

Funeral Partners has an overall mission to provide exemplary care to our clients and to conduct funerals which we can all be proud of. As the UK’s third largest funeral provider, with over 200 funeral homes in our network, we recognise that we are in a collective position of privilege and trust when we serve our clients, our families and wider communities.

In addition, as part of our values, we appreciate that we have a duty to provide our services to the highest professional standards. We recognise that this involves the ongoing need for responsible and sustainable business practices.

As such, our corporate social responsibility activities cover three key areas of ongoing focus:

Corporate governance

We believe in strong risk management procedures in order to best protect all those who interact with us be they clients, their families or friends, team members in our business as well as contractors and any other visitors to our premises.

Environmental matters

Through its own operations, along with those of its suppliers, Funeral Partners recognises that it has an environmental impact not just in the UK but in the world at large. We recognise that supply chains for certain products and services can at times be complex, and that supply chains come with environmental risks.

Our people and communities

We believe in employing the best possible people to work in our business. It is our frontline teams and back office teams who provide the outstanding service day-in day-out which has given Funeral Partners and its family of funeral homes a reputation which we can all be proud of.

Corporate governance

Our corporate governance practices broadly cover the following aspects:

  • Risk management
  • Legislative compliance
  • Quality assurance
  • Efficient business operations
  • Industry engagement

Risk management

We believe in strong risk management procedures in order to best protect all those who interact with us whether they are clients, their families or friends, our team members as well as contractors and any other visitors to our premises.

The business holds an Operational Risk Forum which meets every month. Here, we discuss areas of risk associated with our day-to-day business activities and how we can continually minimise risk through improved controls across our business, and in order to generally and continually improve the way we do business. For example, complaints are analysed for root cause and overall client satisfaction levels are monitored.

Relevant matters from the Operational Risk Forum may be escalated to a higher-level Risk Forum, which is chaired by a member of the Funeral Partners Board so that our risk registers and controls can be continually updated.

We train our frontline teams and management teams in relation to key areas of operational risk such as regular training on manual handling and fire risk.

Legislative compliance

We take our responsibilities in relation to legislative compliance very seriously. We recognise there are ongoing regulations which affect all businesses and, at times, specifically the funeral industry.

For example:

    • We comply with all aspects of formaldehyde testing in our funeral homes and we go above and beyond the minimum legislative obligations in order to safeguard workers in our business.
    • Through the publication of our modern slavery and human trafficking statement, we comply with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
    • Our internal policies and procedures take into consideration the guidance of the Human Tissue Authority and the Health & Safety Executive.

In addition, we have internal specialists in our business who are accredited in critical areas of risk and compliance, such as data protection and health and safety.

  • Where relevant, we invest in securing advice from external experts, in order to ensure that our business practices are applying regulations in the most appropriate way.

Quality assurance

We regularly audit our funeral homes as part of a wider Quality Assurance process, and we take remedial action if any issues are identified. Our audits are there to support our local frontline teams and management in order to ensure we are continually meeting our risk and compliance obligations in practice day-to-day and to assist in continued process improvement.

Efficient business operations

Providing our services in an efficient manner allows us to minimise the overall costs of doing business and in turn this allows us to keep prices lower for our clients in what is a competitive business environment. We continually seek opportunities to make the most of our resources, for example, through efficient vehicle scheduling.

Industry engagement

We are proud members of the National Association of Funeral Directors and we comply with their Code of Practice.

Our prepaid funeral plan product called Choice is registered with the Funeral Planning Authority and as such we comply with its Code of Practice.

Funeral Partners actively engages in groups and forums seeking to continually improving the funeral industry in order to improve quality and standards for clients. For example, our Chief Executive Officer is a member of the independently chaired Funeral Service Consumer Standards Review. We work with other experts in our industry to help drive forward positive change and governance to the profession.

Environmental matters

Through its own operations, along with those of its suppliers, Funeral Partners recognises that it has an environmental impact not just in the UK but in the world at large. We recognise that supply chains for certain products and services can at times be complex, and that supply chains come with environmental risks.

Funeral Partners is committed to understanding, monitoring and reducing the environmental impact and risks associated with doing business. In this regard, we focus our efforts both an internal business practices as well as through close external and third-party management of our supplier network.

Read about some specific activities relating to how we seek to minimise our environmental impact.

Energy sources

Our electricity supplier sources 23% of its electricity from renewable sources and we are investigating ways to increase our reliance on renewable sources as part of our fuel mix.

Fleet and fuel

We now have a procurement policy such that any new hearse and limousine purchases are always hybrid.

Our private ambulances are speed-restricted in order to optimise fuel usage.

Our fleet of general-purpose vehicles are now selected for their reduced emissions and we no longer purchase new diesel general purpose vehicles.

We coincide deliveries of products with the removal of other products in order to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise unnecessary trips.

Principal coffin supply

Our coffin supplier has been accredited with the ISO 14001 standard, which is an internationally recognised mark for the environmental management of businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste and energy consumption.

The supplier has won awards for their commitments and innovation when it comes to environmental matters. For example, our coffin supplier’s factory harvests rainwater for use in its business operations and in so doing saves over 200,000 litres of water a year.

Our supplier’s biomass heating system utilises coffin offcuts, sawdust and shavings as fuel to heat the premises. They have also invested in a 250kw solar farm which generates around 30% of total required power. other initiatives have included the installation of LED lighting in its warehouse facility, which has led to an annual energy saving of 81% and carbon savings of 2.3 tonnes.

The wood source for many of our traditional coffins which we offer through our principal supplier is Forest Stewardship Council ® certified.

All of our ‘Country Range’ of coffins are made using sustainable materials which are 100% biodegradable and we also offer a Fair-Trade coffin option.

Through our supplier, we offer a ‘Greener Goodbyes’ service which provides the option of carrying out three simple steps for those wishing to make their funeral more ethically conscious. This includes options to offset carbon emissions, for example, and purchase trees for planting.

Principal funeral stationery supply

Our principal supplier of funeral stationery (who provide our clients with items such as orders of service for the funeral) is ISO 14001 certified, and the paper for the products we offer to our clients through this supplier is either Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC) certified or certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

In addition, our supplier is a member of Sedex, which encourages fair and sustainable supply chain practices.

Waste

All our confidential waste is recycled, and our supplier is ISO 14001 accredited in Environmental Management.

We separate waste between general waste and recyclable waste.

We have strict controls in place in order comply with our legal obligations concerning clinical waste disposal.

Clothing

Our uniform supplier is ISO 14001 accredited in Environmental Management and its supply chain monitoring procedures rely upon the Base Code of the Ethical Trading Initiative and our supplier is a member of Sedex Global, a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.

General business practices

Our office stationery supplier provides us with paper which is Forest Stewardship Council ® accredited.

We are committed to using IT collaboration products to minimise the need for business travel.

We carry out periodic due diligence on our supplier network and this includes overseeing environmental credentials and any commitments in place or being made concerning environmental matters.

When we develop new services, we are conscious to introduce carefully selected and more environmentally sustainable products. For example, in our ‘celebration of life’ funeral offering, we use biodegradable balloons in the funeral service, as opposed to plastic balloons.

People and communities

We believe in employing the best possible people to work in our business. It is our frontline teams and back office teams who provide the outstanding service day-in day-out which has given Funeral Partners and its family of funeral homes the reputation which we can all be proud of. Our teams share the same values for collaboration and a desire to deliver the highest levels of service and support.

Read more information below about how our corporate social responsibility extends to our people and our communities.

Our people

Recruitment

Care for the deceased and for their families is at the heart of what we do. We use robust assessment processes to select the best possible candidates to work for Funeral Partners. In addition, we use a number of referencing and screening tools (similar to those deployed for recruitment in the care sector) in order to employ only those workers with the appropriate credentials to work in the profession.

Ethical conduct

As part of our induction processes, we ask all our teams to understand and sign up to our Employee Charter and Code of Conduct. These documents set out the commitments which Funeral Partners makes as an employer, and the documents establish the standards we expect of those who work for us.

We have policies and procedures in place to provide support to workers in our business, such as employee assistance helplines which are operated in confidence by third parties. We also have ‘Speak Up’ and ‘Whistleblowing’ policies and procedures to allow avenues for anyone in the business to raise concerns in confidence.

Investment in training and development

We are committed to training and the professional development of our teams. We offer comprehensive internal training as well as accredited training through the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and we employ in-house NAFD tutors. Our embalming training is carried out by a member of the British Institute of Embalmers (BIOE).

We utilise robust performance management to structure the support and development of our team members which included a structured career framework supported by Personal Development Plans (PDPs) and Performance Development Reviews (PDRs).

We utilise the investment available to us through the Apprenticeship Levy and we have a number of apprentices going through accredited training courses. We also promote courses to our management team which are accredited by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

Diversity and inclusion

As part of our Employee Charter and our Employee Handbook, we support a diverse and inclusive workforce in order to enable everyone to be themselves in the workplace and, in turn, to give the best possible service to our clients.

In addition to recognising the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce, we recognise that we operate in diverse communities. As such, we try to ensure that our funeral services are inclusive for the many races and faiths along with the often varying and unique requirements of our clients.

Feedback

We are committed to listening to our frontline teams and management population in order to continually improve the Funeral Partners business and learn through feedback.

We ask all workers in the business to complete a People Feedback survey which covers various aspects of engagement and allows everyone in the business a voice on how the business can be taken forward for the benefit of our clients.

We encourage our teams to get involved in trialling new ideas and change initiatives before we make business-wide changes, and we encourage forums for those in certain roles in the business to come together and share ideas about how the business can be improved.

Our communities

All of our funeral homes value their reputation in the local community and our teams actively work with numerous local charities and community organisations. More information can be found here.

We support communities in a variety of ways, from placing advertising in community magazines, to getting involved with fundraising projects or simply by offering to promote an appropriate local charity through a window display.

We encourage our teams to engage in community activity in order to showcase the quality of the services we can offer to clients, and in order to break down barriers around engaging with funeral directors. Read about the great work our teams are doing in their local community here.

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Interested in becoming a Funeral Partner?

Speak to our friendly team on:

0118 940 6900