Cremation and Burial Authorities will be following the advice provided by the UK Government, Devolved Administrations and their Local Resilience Forum. The purpose of this page is to share information which is being provided to the Federation which members may find also useful.

Government Guidance for Arranging Funerals


On 12 October 2020, the government introduced a system of local COVID alert levels. If you live, work or volunteer in an area that is subject to local COVID alert level: high or local COVID alert level: very high regulations, additional restrictions will apply to many activities.

In general, these additional restrictions do not have significant implications for funerals. Where they do, they have been included in this guidance.

Scottish Government

First Minister Announces Easing of Funeral Restrictions in Scotland


Today 9th July, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that restrictions on who can attend funeral services will be eased from 15 July 2020.

Indicative dates had suggested that changes were unlikely to take place until at least 23 July. This has been kept under review, and in line with wider changes, will now take effect from 15 July.

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Managing a Funeral: Revised Guide from Public Health England


This guidance has been updated in line with the Health Protection Regulations 2020.
Changes include:
- allowing both family and friends to attend a funeral
- the number of people who can attend a funeral
- allowing mourners to stay overnight outside their home
- the safe management of the funeral venue

This guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide, and in the event of conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.


NME June Bulletin


The June edition of the National Medical Examiner Bulletin Office includes items on:

- Recommencing medical examiner scrutiny and implementation
- Implementation in Wales
- Medical examiner activity reporting
- Regional and national teams update
- Lay representation in England
- Reimbursement in England
- Training and events


Easing of Lockdown Stages in Cemeteries and Crematoria – England


As the Government begins to lift lockdown restrictions, burial and cremation authorities will need to consider what this means for their services. To help authorities with some of the issues this will raise, a guidance document has been produced.

The list of measures in each stage is not necessarily exhaustive, and there will be local conditions to take account of. Authorities will need to be mindful of laws, regulations and Government guidance before introducing any changes or entering the different stages.

The guidance document currently applies to England; Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own restrictions in place, although the suggested stages for cemeteries and crematoria would apply throughout the UK.


DMAG Interim Report


DMAG has carried out an interim review of the response by the death management sector to the pandemic. The primary purpose of the report is to identify any lessons from our collective experience and apply them so the sector will be better placed to react to any increase in deaths that may result from a ‘second wave’.

In addition to the areas covered in the report, DMAG would welcome your comments on what you found worked well and what did not work so at your own facilities. In order that this valuable learning can be collated and shared across the sector as a whole.

Send your comments to the Federation Secretary, Brendan Day, at [email protected].


Webinar on Cemetery Management Under COVID-19


New Zealand Cemeteries & Crematoria (NZCCC) and the Australasian Cemeteries & Crematoria Association (ACCA) are proud to present a webinar on Cemetery Management Under COVID-19 and into the Future.

The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt around the world and many of us have had to adapt to new ways of working and implement additional risk management strategies. In this webinar we will look at:

- How the pandemic has changed the cemeteries and crematoria sector.
- Experiences and what we have learned.
- What the future of sector could look like beyond COVID-19.

We will be joined by a series of sector experts from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Europe.

Following the webinar, there will be a Q&A session where you will have the opportunity to ask questions. There will be added time for more questions if required.

For those interested in joining but not available at this time, the webinar will be recorded and shared with those who register prior to the event.

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COVID-19: Guidance for Managing a Funeral During the Coronavirus Pandemic Update


The guidance issued by PHE for those managing funerals has been updated to take account of new advice concerning symptoms relating to COVID-19 and wearing of masks.
It is important to note that apart from these changes the advice from Public Health England remains the same and includes the following actions:

- restricting the number of mourners to be as low as possible to ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres (6 ft) can be maintained between individuals.
- alongside the Funeral Director, Chapel Attendant, and funeral staff only the following should attend:
- members of the person’s household.
- close family members.
- or if the above are unable to attend, close friends.
- attendance of a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this.

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Video of Thanks to Death Care Professionals


PlotBox has released a video to say 'thank you' to death care professionals working tirelessly during this pandemic. The FBCA is pleased on behalf of its members and theirs teams to support the release of this video and its message of support.


CBCE Update


We hope you are keeping well and safe in these uncertain times we are living in.

We are writing to inform you that in light of the current Covid-19 crisis and government guidelines affecting many of our colleagues, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s CBCE event.

To ensure we can offer the best quality event and that we can welcome as many colleagues as possible, we are in effect cancelling the event for 2020 and it will now take place on Monday 21 – Wednesday 23rd June 2021. We are delighted to say we will still be returning to the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

All current registrations and exhibition bookings will be transferred to the 2021 event. However, if you do not wish to transfer your place, please contact us at [email protected] for details of next steps.

We are sad that we will not be joining together this year but we do hope to see you next year.

Stay well and please do contact us if you have any questions.


Welsh Government Guidance to Local Authorities


The Welsh Government has released guidance on the impact of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 on funerals.

Scottish Government

Scottish Regulations Update


The Scottish government as introduced new statutory guidance relating to Schedule 28 of the Coronavirus Act (2020) which introduced new powers for local authorities and government to support the resilience of local death management systems, and step in if they become overwhelmed.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020


On 21st April 2020 the Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, signed the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. 
This clarifies the position in England relating to the closure of crematoria and burial grounds. The new regulations remove wording relating to burial grounds and burials in paragraph 5(8), and adds a sub-paragraph, (8A), stating that paragraph (8) does not apply to any grounds surrounding a crematorium. Paragraph (8) and (8A) now read:
(8) Subject to paragraph (8A), a person who is responsible for a crematorium must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium is closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials.
(8A) Paragraph (8) does not apply to the grounds surrounding a crematorium, including any burial ground or garden of remembrance.


Updated Guidance on Cremation and Death Notification


The government has published revised guidance on cremation and death notification. You can view the information via the links below.

The changes came into effect on 26th March and revised guidance is in force until further notice.

The revised guidance is easily distinguishable with pink covers and sections highlighting changes from the previous blue covered guidance. The blue covered guidance should not be used and will be removed from the website.

The Cremation Medical Certificate (form 4) published on the Gov.UK website has also been updated to provide for a medical practitioner completing the form on their computer or other device to embed an electronic signature. This will enable the form to be sent via another person's email account, such as a medical administrator, without the form having to be first printed and signed.

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Government Guidance on Managing Funerals


The government has published guidance on managing funerals during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This advice is designed to assist people who are involved in managing or organising a funeral related to a death from any cause during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This guidance has been developed to ensure that:

- bereaved people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect
- mourners and workers involved in the management of funerals are protected from infection.


DMAG Update 15/4/20


The members of DMAG held a video conference on 14th April 2020, with representatives from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in attendance.


Ashes Retention Policy


In accordance with government restrictions members of the public are only permitted to leave their homes for a limited number of specific reasons. Whilst this includes specified individuals attending funerals, it does not provide for the collection of ashes or their final disposal.

Therefore, unless specific arrangements can be made to release the ashes in a manner which complies with the government’s requirements on social distancing, it is recommended that ashes should be retained at the crematorium until the current emergency is over.

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Scottish Government Releases guidance


The Scottish Government has released three guidance documents relevant to the funeral industry for funeral directors, burial & cremation authorities, and funeral services. These are available on the Scottish Government's main COVID-19 guidance webpage.

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Scottish Government Updates on Funerals and Health Protection


The Scottish Government has published two updates:

Update 1:

As of 8 April, Scottish Ministers have relaxed arrangements around who can arrange a funeral, as well as suspended the duties in relation to handling ashes that are normally placed on funeral directors, cremation authorities and local authorities. To read about this important change in more detail, please visit the government blog.

Update 2:

Information has been posted on the government blog about the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which came into effect from 26 March 2020.

These regulations set out temporary restrictions on the opening to the public of crematoriums and also restrictions around funeral services. Information is available here.


DMAG Update 7/4/20


The members of DMAG held a video conference on the 7th April 2020, including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, with Judith Bernstein, Thibault Dufatel, Charlotte Spence-Jones, and from the Department of Health and Social Care, Jane Crossley.


First 'Special Measures' Candidate Awarded Certificate


The first ‘special measures’ candidate has today been awarded their Provisional Certificate.

The candidate from Orbitas was enrolled on 25 March, submitted their paperwork yesterday, it was marked by Dave Clay the same day and the certificate issued this morning – so less than two week turnaround including the candidate completing 50 cremations.


DMAG Releases Guidance on Safe Funerals


The members of DMAG are aware of the important and central role of the funeral ritual to the grieving process for many families. However, during these extremely challenging times the transmission of the coronavirus at funeral gatherings to the elderly, frail, those in vulnerable groups along with funeral directors and crematorium staff cannot be overlooked.


Cabinet Office Issues Guidance


The Cabinet Office have issued ‘Managing the Deceased During a Pandemic: Guidance for planners in England’. This is an updated version of the original general guidance published in 2008. It was, however, drafted before the Coronavirus Act gained Royal Assent last month. Consequently, a number of the potential measures referenced in this guidance have since come into effect via Commencement Orders. It should therefore be read alongside the guidance published in support of those specific measures now in effect and other recent guidance specific to COVID-19. A list of these with hyperlinks has been added to the document. 

The guidance has already been made available to LRFs and their constituent planners with instructions to share with those responsible locally for managing the deceased. The aim of issuing it now to you is to ensure the wider bereavement sector  also have access to it. 

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Scottish Government Relaxes Arrangements Around Funerals


The Scottish Government recognise that funeral directors and cremation authorities are coming under increasing pressure at this time.

As a result, they are relaxing arrangements around who can arrange a funeral, as well as suspending the duties in relation to handling ashes that are normally placed on funeral directors, cremation authorities and local authorities.

These come into effect from Wednesday 8 April 2020.

Ministry of justice

MoJ Releases Revised Guidance


The revised guidance has now been published and is available via these links:
Death notification:  
The changes came into effect on 26th March and revised guidance is in force until further notice.

The revised guidance is easily distinguishable with pink covers and sections highlighting changes from the previous blue covered guidance. The blue covered guidance should not be used and will be removed from the website.  
If you require further advice please email [email protected].


DMAG Advice on Electronic Forms


To help members understand the requirements relating to electronic transmission of cremation and burial forms, DMAG has put together this guidance note on electric forms.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020

Applications for Cremation - Temporary Change in Scotland-only


We are aware that many funeral directors and cremation authorities are experiencing difficulties in obtaining signatures from those applying for cremation due to social distancing and self-isolation in response to COVID-19.

In order to ensure that cremations can go ahead without delay, a new supplementary form can be used by funeral directors when they are unable to obtain a signature.

Cremation authorities will still have the right to ask for additional information about the application but should accept the supplementary form in place of a signature from the applicant.

It is not appropriate for funeral directors to sign the cremation application form. The signature section should be left blank and the supplementary form should be completed. Funeral directors should keep an audit trail that clearly shows the instructions on the application form are those of the applicant.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.


Government Releases Guidance on Care of Deceased


The Government has released guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.


NHS Releases Guidance on Excess Death Provisions


The Coronavirus Act of Parliament gained Royal Assent on 25 March 2020, and the commencement order for the clauses relating to death certification and cremation forms was signed on 26 March 2020. Guidance and information on these clauses are set out below, along with previous COVID-19 advice issued on 10 March,* included here for completeness.


Government Releases Guidance on Safe Funerals


The Government has released new advice for safe funerals after discussions with faith leaders.

Public Health England has published new guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely, consistent with social distancing principles.

National Records of Scotland

National Records of Scotland Release Contact Details and Registration Guidance


National Records of Scotland have very helpfully provided a complete and up-to-date contact spreadsheet for the Scottish Registration Service for all areas of Scotland.

This will enable the efficient delivery of Medical Certificates of Cause of Death under the new remote registration arrangements. Please see for your area of the country.

Please also note the attached Word document, which is also from National Records Scotland and outlines key parts of the remote registration system in one page. Please read this. It contains vital information on how remote registration works.

National Records of Scotland

Registration FAQs


The National Records of Scotland have created an FAQ page on common questions surrounding registration during the pandemic.

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Scottish Government Confirms Closure Regulations


In Scotland the equivalent regulations are The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 which closely mirror the English regulations.

The relevant section is 4(9):

(9) A person who is responsible for a crematorium or burial ground must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium is closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials where reasonable measures are taken to ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between every person on the premises of the crematorium during the funeral or burial (other than between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer).

I can confirm that this regulation applies to crematoriums only (and in some situations where crematoriums include burial grounds within their premises). The regulation does not generally extend to the closure of burial grounds to the public.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020

BRAMM Advice for COVID-19


Following the government's guidelines on social distancing, BRAMM have released advice on the pandemic.

BRAMM will continue to support your business with Technical Advice and providing a closer working relationship with Burial Authorities as well as regular newsletters and industry updates.

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Scottish Registration Changes


The National Records of Scotland have release guidance on registration changes.

To prevent unnecessary in-person contact which might spread COVID-19, registration offices are currently closed to members of the public. Below are answers to questions you may have about the registration of a death or still-birth, birth, marriage or civil partnership.


Defra Releases Advice for Crematoria


In light of the unprecedented Covid-19 situation that we are facing, Defra are providing the following advice regarding periodic monitoring of emissions from Crematoria in England.


NAMM Releases Guidance for Memorial Masons


NAMM recognise the importance in maintaining a safe respectful environment within our cemetery grounds which are maintained for the benefit of all and work hard to provide support and guidance for all those ultimately responsible for burial ground safety.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020


On 26 March 2020 the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, signed the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2020. These Regulations relate to the Coronavirus Act 2020, and effectively ‘switch on’ the provisions that could only be enacted by separate regulation.

A joint statement from the members of the Death Management Advisory Group can be viewed on the Federation website providing guidance to the provisions. 

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Status of Funeral Directors as Key Workers - Scotland


The status of funeral directors as key workers is a decision for each local authority in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has released guidance on the status of funeral directors as key workers.


Chief Coroner Guidance


The Chief Coroner has released guidance for all coroners about the approach to COVID-19, although it will be particularly relevant for senior coroners and area coroners.

This applies to reports of death and coroner investigations in England and Wales only.

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Registration Requirements in Scotland-Only


National Records of Scotland (NRS) is the non-ministerial department of Scottish Government responsible for oversight of the registration system on behalf of the Registrar General for Scotland.
In light of developing plans in Scotland and UK-wide in relation to social distancing, other preventative measures and the spread of the disease, it is clear that COVID-19 is likely to have a significant impact on the ability of the registration service to provide services across the full range of its functions.

As an initial measure, therefore, and in tandem with Scottish Government, NRS has developed provisions specific to death and still-birth registration for inclusion in the forthcoming UK Coronavirus (Emergency) Bill.  We will confirm when these provisions are in force.

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Health Protection Scotland Advice


For direct links to updated Health Protection Scotland (HPS) advice, which links to UK-wide advice on pandemic coronavirus infection control, including guidance on the appropriate handling of COVID-19 deceased, please visit the Funeral Industry News blog.

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Scottish Clause in Coronavirus Bill


The UK Coronavirus Bill was announced on Thursday 20th March.

There is one clause in the Bill specific to the Scottish funeral industry. Click below to download information on this clause.

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First Minister's Address


Echoing the Prime Minister, the First Minister said that the people of Scotland must stay at home, with the exception of a limited number of reasons, in order to combat the spread of COVID-19, to relieve the pressure on the NHS and to save lives.

One key provision for our stakeholders and Scotland highlighted by the First Minister was that, while funerals were exempted from the lockdown, attendance must only be limited to immediate family.

While no maximum number has been set, there is clear guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments about limiting gatherings. The immediate family (and funeral service staff) must all strictly adhere to NHS Inform’s social distancing measures at all time.


Deceased Management Advisory Group Created


In view of the current extraordinary circumstances in which our communities and individuals now find themselves, the organisations have agreed to work together in order to be able to better support not only their members but society as a whole.


Joint Guidance on Coffin Handling


Joint guidance has been released on the handling of coffins.

Please be assured that the risk of catching the Coronavirus from a deceased person is very low. But there is still a small amount of risk with the deceased so measures should be taken for the safety of the crematoria staff.


Limited Attendees


In the ongoing delivery of services to the bereaved, Burial and Cremation Authorities should adopt a risk-based approach, taking into account government advice, vulnerable groups and the importance of protecting the key workers outlined in recent government advice.

In considering reducing the transmission of the coronavirus through gatherings at funeral services in chapels they must consider limiting attendees to the immediate family:

Children (and partners)

Updating the guidance in this manner provides an proportionate response to the changing situation, with Burial and Cremation Authorities, funeral directors and the bereaved receiving greater clarity.


Managing a Deceased


The government has released information and guidance on handling a deceased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines are intended for planners in England and looks at a variety of aspects including managing excess deaths, transporting the deceased and death registration.


TEST Training Scheme


In recent days the Federation has received a number of enquiries from members concerning availability of training for Crematorium Technicians.

In view of the current exceptional circumstances we are all working under, and to support members, the FBCA has decided to make two important changes to its training scheme.


Government Guidance During COVID-19


Following new laws and the creation of the Coronavirus Bill, the Government has released new guidance.

This guidance looks at educational provision, the Coronavirus Bill and Muslim Burials.

Ministry of justice

Further Guidelines from MoJ


As you will know, the Government has advised that, in order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), people should – among other things – limit social contact and avoid non-essential travel where possible. We wanted to let you know about the changes that the MoJ casework team is making to our business practices in light of this advice. We would be grateful if you could cascade this note to your members so they are aware.

First – we will be prioritising any exhumation applications which are required to facilitate new burials (as opposed to facilitating only the disturbance of existing remains). Where this is the case, we would be grateful if burial authorities could indicate it clearly on the application form.

More generally, although we will continue to accept and process postal applications for exhumation licences, this will unavoidably take longer than our standard turnaround time while the revised working practices are in place.

We would therefore be grateful if, wherever possible, applications could be submitted electronically to [email protected]. If applicants have difficulty scanning completed applications (for electronic transmission), we will also accept photos uploaded into, or attached to, an email, provided that all the details in the application form are legible.

As paper licences are not required in order for an exhumation to proceed, we will not be issuing these for the duration of the revised procedures. Instead, all licences will be issued electronically to the relevant burial authority. We will also send an electronic copy to the bereaved family (where they are the applicant) and we would therefore be grateful if burial authorities could ask families to include an email address on the application form for this purpose. If no email address is provided, we will send the licence to the burial authority only and will indicate that it has not been possible to copy it to the applicant.

We believe that these measures will enable us to continue to deliver our services as effectively as possible in the circumstances resulting from the pandemic, and we are very grateful for your patience and co-operation during this exceptional period. We will continue to keep the situation under review and will let you know as quickly as possible if further changes become necessary.

Please cascade this to your members and if there are any queries please direct them to [email protected].


NAFD Risk Assessment Framework for Funeral Gatherings


The NAFD has issued the attached guidance on risk assessing funeral gatherings.

The current message from the Government is that funerals should continue, as far as possible, for now, but taking into account all of the guidelines issued for minimising the risk of transmission.

This includes the need to protect at-risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoiding of unnecessary physical contact. This is not only for the benefit of those attending funerals, it also supports the urgent need to protect funeral home, crematorium and cemetery employees, who need to remain healthy and able to work at this critical time.

For full guidance, click the link below.


Statement from the Representatives of the British Funeral Sector


Statement from the Representatives of the British Funeral Sector (The National Association of Funeral Directors, Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, Cremation Society of Great Britain and the Association of Private Cemeteries and Crematoria).

On Tuesday 17th March the government met with representative bodies from the funeral, crematoria and burial sector regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Requests for support with access to equipment that is in scarce supply, and the need for additional advice and support as the situation develops, were taken on board. As a result of that meeting, the signatories to this statement have decided to offer the following advice.

The key outcome is that funerals should continue, as normally as possible, for now - but take into account all of the guidelines issued by government for minimising the risk of transmission. This includes the need to protect at-risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoidance of unnecessary physical contact. This is not only for the benefit of those attending funerals, it also supports the urgent need to protect funeral home, crematorium and cemetery employees, who need to remain healthy and able to support bereaved families at this critical time.

In consultation with their local crematoria and cemeteries, Funeral homes and families should assess each funeral individually and consider whether it might mean smaller numbers of people and organising a celebration of life or memorial service planned for a later date. Alternatives such as webcasting may enable other mourners to participate. This is a fast evolving situation and guidance may well need to change again in the near future. The focus for day-to-day communication will be local resilience forums, with which funeral, crematoria and burial organisations are working closely, across the country.

We will be sending a guidance document to you shortly to support you in assessing any changes you may need to make during the Covid-19 outbreak.

This is a fast evolving situation and guidance may well need to change again in the near future. Much of the Government’s day-to-day focus for communication will be local resilience forums and you are urged to make contact with your local resilience forum to ensure there is a good flow of information coming out to you that is relevant to your local area. If you are already involved in your local resilience forum, make sure you are sharing information with other providers in your area, local funeral firms and with the FBCA through the Secretary, Brendan Day, this will help us to ensure all UK cemetery and crematorium operators have a consistent flow of operational information.


Proposed Legislation


The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has identified that to effectively manage a coronavirus outbreak in the UK, they need to introduce new fast-tracked legislation. This will provide them with the legal measures to be able to implement their phased response. Details of the proposed legislation, which will be heard in parliament on Thursday, can be seen on their website.


Joint Guidance for Cemeteries and Crematoria


Guidance on advice from the Government has been drafted for cemeteries and crematoria.

Looking at:

- Funeral Services at Crematoria and Cemeteries
- Guidance for Cemetery and Crematorium Teams
- Guidance for Administration
- Advice on Cremation and Burial Numbers
- Guidance on Operating Cremators During Pandemic Situations
- Advice on Staffing

During this trying time, it is important have clear, concise guidance and that's why we've devised this joint guidance.

The FBCA are always here to help support members however we can. You can view the guidance below or contact our Secretary, Brendan Day, for more information.

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