Keeping our clients and teams safe

Staying safe during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

The wellbeing of all those who interact with our colleagues and our funeral homes remains our key concern, along with continuing to provide the highest standards of care for the deceased.

Following ongoing and detailed risk assessments and taking into account the appropriate guidance issued from the various government guidance and relevant agencies, Funeral Partners has carefully assessed the risks that the virus may pose as part of our business operations.

In turn, we have taken the appropriate steps to minimise risks at this time, and to promote the safety and health of all those who require our services.

The results of our risk assessments

Below, you will see some of the critical measures we have put in place in order to control the virus, whilst continuing to support the wishes of the bereaved as much as possible at this time.

Looking after visitors to our funeral homes

For those unable to attend our funeral homes, we will aim to complete all the required funeral arrangements remotely wherever possible

Visitors to our premises are limited so that we can promote social distancing when visitors arrive. As a result, we encourage all visitors to our premises to call us in advance so that together we can support social distancing

For those that do visit our premises, every funeral home within the Funeral Partners family of businesses has undertaken a ‘site-specific’ risk assessment so that Covid-19-related risks can be managed. This has entailed specific and appropriate distancing measures being put into practice throughout our network of funeral homes. We encourage all visitors to familiarise themselves with the specific measures in place at each of our locations, including following any visual signage and guidance

During visits to our premises, we require visitors to use face coverings, in order to limit the transmission of the virus. Our colleagues will also wear face coverings when you visit

We provide hand sanitising facilities at all our facilities and we encourage usage upon entry and exit of the building

Tissues are available at all our locations in the event of coughing/sneezing

Our team members on site will support you to make your visit as comfortable as possible, whilst still adhering to the guidance

Looking after our colleagues

People who work for Funeral Partners require kindness, compassion and empathy in order to best serve the bereaved.Funeral Partners is incredibly proud of our frontline teams who continue to support the bereaved and who to look after every deceased person in our care with dignity and compassion

The Covid-19 pandemic places significant pressure on our team members to support families who are either directlyor indirectly affected by Covid-19

The welfare of our colleagues is critical and we provide external ‘employee assistance’ telephone lines to help colleagues with practical and emotional issues of any sort at any time, night or day

We hold ‘conference calls’ with our teams to keep everyone updated on the latest guidance, and we provide visual posters to our teams in order to help explain the latest guidance in simple and practical terms

In the event that a member of our team is required to self-isolate, we provide a financial support package to help with cashflow

We have involved our frontline teams in each ‘site-specific’ risk assessment for Covid-19, so that those working in our locations play a part in shaping and putting in place the most appropriate controls to protect them, and those around them

All our teams are provided with the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to carry out particular tasks which may place them at risk whilst working in a funeral setting

We go above and beyond government guidance in relation to PPE since we also follow the guidance issued by the National Care Forum, the Care Provider Alliance and the National Association of Funeral Directors

We have purchased face coverings for use by our teams in both a personal and a professional capacity

Keeping our premises and touchpoints clean

All our locations have rigorous cleaning regimes in place in order to limit the risk of transmission through shared surfaces

Touchpoints are regularly cleaned throughout the day, and particularly when there are visitors

We request that visitors avoid touching items in our funeral home as much as possible, unless absolutely necessary

Providing the best possible funeral service whilst also minimising risk

We keep our teams fully up-to-date with the changing government restrictions in relation to funeral services and weare here to advise you at all times

We are still able to tailor every funeral service to reflect the life of the deceased, and the individual wishes of the bereaved. This makes every funeral unique. As a result, we require all our Funeral Directors to sensitively and carefully risk assess each individual funeral, specifically from a Covid-19 perspective

In particular, this includes working with our client to ensure that social distancing can be supported during the funeral service, and to provide individual advice and guidance about how best to conduct the funeral based on the funeral venue,the number of mourners who may be attending and any requests made by families

Each funeral venue will have its own policies and procedures in relation to Covid-19 and we will be able to advise you locally on the aspects relevant to the venues you choose so you are fully aware of the specific guidelines which may be relevant to that venue

Mourners will be supported every step of the way by the Funeral Director on the day of the funeral service, who may assist with such things as choreographing entry and exit of mourners. This would be based on household/social bubbles and requiring other mourners to be spaced apart, as well as by advising on how best to put additional social distancing measures in place for particularly vulnerable mourners

In order to minimise the number of our colleagues who need to come into close contact with each other, please be aware that we may use a wheeler bier to move your loved one from the hearse into the funeral venue, as opposed to using pall bearers

Testing and tracing

We support the UK government’s and the devolved administrations’ efforts in regard to testing, tracing and isolating, in order to help control the virus and manage localised outbreaks

As a consequence, we commit to noting down the details of all visitors to our premises so that we can react swiftly in the event of a positive diagnosis. We have plans in place in the event that a colleague,visitor or any other third party informs us aware of a positive diagnosis of Covid-19

Please be assured that personal data is always handled with privacy in mind, and it is used only in accordance with data protection principles

Collecting your loved one from their place of death

We will work with you to establish the circumstances of your loved one’s death and whether there are any specific Covid-19 considerations which will require particular support, so that we visit and collect your loved one as safely as possible at this time

This may entail asking you about your own circumstances in relation to Covid-19, along with those of your loved one who has now died

We appreciate that these questions will come at what is already a difficult time, yet please be assured that they are posed with the safety of you and our colleagues as our priority

The usage of vehicles, including limousines for funeral services

For our colleagues, we try and limit shared usage of vehicles wherever possible – given it is hard to socially distance in a vehicle

  • We are able to offer limousines for usage on the day of the funeral, and we have taken additional steps to keep everyone as safe as possible whilst using the limousine:
  • Rigorous cleaning protocols are in place in between each use of our vehicles
  • A screen will be in place between the driver and passengers
  • Face coverings are required to be worn by the driver and passengers
  • We are providing hand sanitiser sachets in every vehicle for every passenger
  • The number of people in a limousine is limited to four people from the same household (or wider social bubble)
  • Windows may be opened when it is safe to do so, in order to allow for fresh air to circulate
  • Air will be re-circulated from the outside, not the inside of the vehicle

Back-office support teams

Our funeral homes are supported by a network of colleagues throughout the country who provide specialist expertise in order to maintain our high standards. For example, we have dedicated training and coaching teams who support our homes with ongoing learning and development

Wherever possible, our back-office teams have been facilitated to work from home and to use technology to avoid travelling,whilst still providing the required support and expertise to our funeral homes remotely

When our support team are required to meet together or travel on work, we have issued detailed guidance about how to maintain social distancing and to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus whilst on the move

Close monitoring and input to government guidance

Funeral Partners is a proud member of the National Association of Funeral Directors and we follow the guidance issued by the Association

We closely and continually follow the guidance issued by the UK Government, the NHS, Public Health England, Public Health Scotland and the Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland)

In addition, we are represented on Local Resilience Forums around the country which are actively supporting how best to control the virus