July 30, 2019 4.56 pm This story is over 57 months old

North East Lincolnshire Council to scrap funeral overrun charge

Families were charged for services overrunning

North East Lincolnshire Council is set to scrap a £200 charge on funerals which overrun after a backlash from grieving families.

The authority currently charges funeral directors for services that overrun the allotted time at Grimsby Crematorium.

However, the cost is often passed onto grieving families.

Now, the authority is expected to remove the charge at a Portfolio Holder for Environment meeting next week.

A policy to charge for funerals which overrun at Grimsby Crematorium, which holds around 1,700 services a year, was introduced by the council in 2014.

But the council promised to review the policy after GrimsbyLive revealed that two sisters were charged £200 after their father’s funeral overran by 48 seconds.

North East Lincolnshire Council is set to scrap charges for funerals which overrun.

Hayley James and Mandy Pinney had gone back into the crematorium to say a final goodbye to their dad, Terry James.

But they were made to pay a fee after going over their 40 minute slot, which was the last of the day, back in June.

The council said the policy had been designed to “limit disruptions to services”, but added that recent reports showed that families’ interests were “no longer being achieved”.

A report by Clive Tritton, interim director for economy and growth at the council, said a review had been carried out to ensure families’ interests were “prioritised”.

“The existing policy of charging funeral directors an additional fee if services exceeds the time booked was designed to limit disruptions to services at Grimsby Crematorium and ensuring all families was guaranteed dignity and privacy during services,” he said.

“Recent reports of overrun fees being passed on to grieving families without prior warning indicate the policy objectives of placing families’ interests at heart is no longer being achieved in a small number of cases.”

The council will now introduce a good practice guide after funeral directors said that overrun times were only “part of the problem”.

The new policy will see funeral directors sign up to a good practice guide and continue to pay current prices for services.

Those not signed up will pay extra to cover the cost of additional time and staff to resolve any problems.

A warning system will also be in place for directors who breach the guide.

Those directors who receive three written warnings in a rolling 12 month period will be classed as non-compliant and unable to book shorter service slots for at least three months

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