August 5, 2019 12.44 pm This story is over 56 months old

‘Something had to change’: £200 funeral overrun charge scrapped

The policy proved unpopular with families

A senior North East Lincolnshire councillors said “something had to change” with a £200 charge for funeral services that overran at Grimsby Crematorium.

Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport at the council, today approved a change to the policy which will see the charge scrapped.

Instead, a new good practice guide will be introduced for funeral directors.

The policy proved unpopular after it was revealed that the cost was often passed onto grieving families.

Council bosses promised to review the policy after GrimsbyLive reported that two sisters were charged after their father’s funeral overran by 48 seconds.

Hayley James and Mandy Pinney had gone back into the crematorium to say a final goodbye to their dad, Terry James, but were then made to pay the charge for their 40 minute slot.

Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport at North East Lincolnshire Council. Picture: NELC.

Councillor Swinburn said the policy had been a “hot topic” over the past few months and that the council had to do something.

“We should do something to bring the policy in line with what has been happening with the overrun charges,” he said.

“It was obvious that something had to change, but we have to make it clear that there has to be something in place to stop overrunning services.”

The change to bring in a good practice guide is expected to be introduced in September.

North East Lincolnshire Council has scrapped a £200 charge on funerals which overrun.

The new policy will see funeral directors sign up to the 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.

Councillor Swinburn said the new guide shows that the authority is working with funeral directors.

“What has happened in the past has not been the fault of the council, it is the funeral directors who run the service,” he said.

“But, hopefully, when this system is in place we will see some changes.”

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