A SAIF future

Alun Tucker, Executive Chairman, SAIF

Those of you who attended the Annual General Meeting in Cardiff last weekend will have been introduced to SAIF’s new Chief Executive, Terry Tennens.

It was some time ago when I decided to give up my role, in favour of a full-time appointment, as the number of challenges facing the funeral profession is
constantly growing.

In Scotland, regulation or licensing of funeral directors is fast becoming a reality for the Scottish Government and this will have repercussions throughout.

The Ministry of Justice is conducting a consultation into cremation practices following the inquiries from both sides of the border into infant cremations.

The cost of funerals is in the news on an almost daily basis, usually blaming the funeral director for the high charges.

In what direction is the pre-paid market going? Anyone who knows me well will know I have never been the greatest fan of these plans, and that I have been consistent in that view since the late 80s/early 90s.

We continue to fight for an improvement in social fund payments. It is important that we maintain our challenge and keep battling with the government for an increase.

These are just some of the issues facing our members and at which Terry will be representing SAIF’s interests.

Other aims are to continue with SAIFSupport and looking at areas where we can grow this service. I am not surprised by the number of persons who have used this service so far and would encourage all employers to ensure their employees know of its availability.

SAIF’s Mark Woollard will continue to recruit new members and if you’re a non-member reading this, and would like to know more about joining, please contact Mark via the SAIF Business Centre on 01279 726 777.

We will continue with our programme of regional meetings, which are informal events where we look to meet members and share experiences. If you are not a regular attendee or, indeed, have never been to a regional meeting, please make extra effort this year. Terry is very keen to meet as many members as possible in his first few months so put the date of your local meeting in the diary now.

Education Day has proved to be a success over the past two years. Please use this opportunity to send one or two (or more) of your staff along to gain a wider knowledge of the profession. With an exhibition from our associates, it’s an ideal day for learning and meeting like minded folk.

Speaking of education, SAIF is pleased to be recognised as an Education Adviser to Preston’s College as it launches its Funeral Apprenticeship programme. With this and the IFD College courses available with discounted fees for SAIF & SAIFCharter members, is there a better time for employers to offer their staff formal training?

Of course this list is not complete but it gives an indication of what lies ahead.

It has been my privilege to serve SAIF, in one capacity or another, for the best part of 20 years and I look forward to supporting Terry through his first few months with SAIF before gently treading the retirement path.

I wish to thank Linda, Angela, Corinne and Sam at SAIF Business Centre for their tremendous support. To my friends on the executive committee, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to take SAIF forward over the past three and a half years as together we have made this Society stronger and laid a solid foundation for its future success.

Finally, to the members, thank you for your support at regional meetings, annual general meetings and other SAIF events.

SAIF is here for its membership, please use it to your advantage, be proud to display the logo, and continue to work for the benefit of bereaved families in your communities.

Best wishes to you all.