The director of a Stalybridge-based funeral service has outlined the importance of investing heavily in internal systems and processes to prevent situations such as the ‘Co-op missing body’ scandal from happening again.
The call from Lewis McMorrow, CEO of Far & Beyond Funeral Services, comes as Martin Murphy, the funeral director sacked by Co-op Funeralcare in May 2015 after an elderly man’s body went missing for two days in Scotland, has reportedly returned to work as a humanist celebrant tasked with comforting bereaved families.
Murphy, whose new role is even believed to involve overseeing ceremonies for the Co-op, had taken home one of his firm’s private ambulances which contained the corpse of the deceased.
He was subsequently dismissed by Co-op for ‘serious misconduct’, something Murphy himself denied when questioned by the Daily Record, the newspaper which originally broke the story.
Murphy’s return to work has attracted the attention of Natalie McKail, Scotland’s first ‘funeral industry tsar’. In this role, McKail has been tasked with clamping down on so-called ‘funeral cowboys’ who take advantage of the bereaved’s grief and aim to make money from conducting non-religious ceremonies.
McMorrow believes that England could also benefit from having a suitable person in a similar position, but has also called for greater investment from individual funeral services in order to cut down on mishaps occurring in the future:
“It’s vital that funeral homes, whether large or small, put in place robust systems and technology to combat incidents such as this, which can obviously cause great suffering and heartache for the deceased’s family.”
“At Far & Beyond, we invest around £80,000 every single year – not an insignificant sum – in hiring the correct staff and implementing rigid processes to ensure we never put our clients through a situation such as the one which occurred in East Kilbride.”
McMorrow also emphasised the need for more stringent legislation in the industry, saying: “While I’m unable to comment directly on the Co-Op Funeralcare incident, or on Mr Murphy’s current situation, I feel that it is important that the industry strives for better regulation, such as the recent introduction of Ms McKail as ‘funeral tsar’ in Scotland.”
For more information about the systems and processes that Far & Beyond Funerals have put in place, please contact the company directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0800 368 7722.