As you will be aware the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) is carrying out a market investigation into the supply of services by funeral directors at the point of need and the supply of crematoria services.
Having worked closely with Cremation Authorities the CMA have amassed vast amounts of data about the sector and gained a much greater understanding of how the markets work.
In the latest update, 5th December 2019, the CMA published a timetable setting out the next steps during 2020:
January to early March 2020 – Publication/disclosure of relevant working papers.
Late March 2020 – Deadline for all parties’ responses/submissions required before the Provisional Decision report
April/May 2020 – Provisional Decision report
June/July 2020 – Provisional Decision response hearings
August 2020 – Final deadline for all parties’ responses before final report
27 September 2020 – Statutory deadline
We have no inclination at this stage what recommendations the final report will include. However, we may speculate that the time and effort the CMA has put into this report may result in far reaching implications for the sector. Whilst there may not be price capping on cremation fees, price transparency is likely to be the starting point – not only the cremation fee but possibly including publication of indicators such as return on capital investment and the surplus produced on the actual delivery of the cremation service.
Operationally, the current structure of set cremation times with the less favourable early times being discounted may have to cease in favour of a far more flexible approach to availability in terms of time and/or fees through the day. Cremation Authorities may also be expected to facilitate families booking cremations direct so they have greater control of the process.
It is important that Cremation Authorities closely follow the information being produced by the CMA and the Federation will continue to keep members informed.
Facultatieve Technologies (FT) with 145 years of experience in cremation is the international market leader in the design, construction and maintenance of cremation and filtration equipment.