A day for planning ahead

Members of SAIFCharter and people from across the UK funeral sector had an “informative, professional and transparent” AGM on Saturday 15 September according to members’ feedback, against the unique backdrop of central Edinburgh.

SAIFCharter Chairman Julian Walker thanked members, saying: “A third of the members present had never attended our AGM before. The most rewarding thing about the AGM is seeing that kind of engagement from independent funeral directors who understand the importance of the association we have built together.

“That engagement was reflected in our best AGM feedback ever. Just as it’s important that you come make your voice heard at the AGM, it’s also important that we understand what you want from a meeting like this, so it is gratifying that most of the businesses who came along took the time to tell us what they thought.”

Your thoughts

In its usefulness and the key speakers’ ratings, 2018’s SAIFCharter AGM was the most popular since the association started recording attendees’ views in 2015. 70% of members in attendance responded to the survey. 94% of members said the event was useful to them, and half of these called it “very useful”.

The main events were presentations from SAIFCharter Chair Julian Walker and Golden Charter CEO Suzanne Grahame. Julian discussed the range of challenges the association’s funeral directors are facing, in an “effective” presentation which members called a “well presented” and “clear message as to where the association is going and how we will get there”. Nearly four fifths of members gave his section a good or excellent rating, with around 50% giving it the highest score.

Suzanne moved onto how Golden Charter intends to work with Independents to bolster your ability to meet these challenges. She underlines her key messages in this month’s magazine. Funeral directors gave her the highest rating of the day, with a similar number of “good” and “excellent” ratings to Julian’s and 60% calling her talk “excellent”.


Four fifths of members praised the formal question and answer session which followed. Comments included a call for more questions.

Golden Charter’s Malcolm Flanders, who answered one of the day’s questions, said: “The day collects together SAIFCharter’s Chair and Executive members, key members of Golden Charter’s leadership team including the CEO, and experts in a range of areas. It’s a great open opportunity to ask them all about the issues affecting your business, so I would encourage everyone affected to come along next year and ask whatever burning question you might have.”

Pre-AGM presentations were also introduced this year, with SAIF represented by Alun Tucker and CEO Terry Tennens, who followed on from a talk by Scotland’s Inspector of Funeral Directors Natalie McKail.

Where the AGM focused on reviewing the past year and looking to the future, both pre-AGM sessions went into more depth to educate attendees on the profession’s pressing issues. Every respondent said they would like to see more of these sessions in the future, and in this month’s SAIFInsight, SAIFCharter Chair Julian Walker looks back on what they covered.

SAIFCharter will be reviewing the feedback, including suggested improvements for the day, like looking at how figures are reported for the Trust, company and association, and more impactful production during the AGM as well as on the exhibition stands around the event.

Next year’s event has been set for Saturday 21 September in London and future issues of SAIFInsight will provide more details.

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