words: Claire Day, SAIF

The 2018 SAIF Annual General Meeting and Banquet Weekend at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, started with the Friday Associates, Past Presidents and Officers lunch where some 50 guests were welcomed by National President Paul Bowley and his partner Davina Docherty.

Annual General Meeting

Saturday was the working side of the weekend with more than 110 members attending the Annual Genera l Meeting (AGM).

The day began with an introduction from SAIF’s Chief Execut ive Terry Tennens and National President Paul Bowley welcoming the guests. President-elect Alun Tucker then initiated a minute’s silence in memory of all those who had passed during the year.

National President Paul provided an insight into the meetings he had attended as well as confirming the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launch date. was also discussed.

Paul mentioned there were new beginnings at Golden Charter with Suzanne Grahame being appointed as the new CEO, before thanking SAIF’s Claire Day for helping to arrange the weekend and to all fellow directors for their support over the year.

Terry Tennens formally welcomed Suzanne Grahame, new members and those who had not attended the AGM before. He thanked the Executive Committee and Paul Bowley for his dedicated service, and Mark Porteous for his work for SAIF Scotland. Terry discussed all the activities SAIF has undertaken to defend Independents’ corner. He also mentioned the launch of SAIF Care, which is a bereavement counselling services for members’ clients.

SAIF’s Treasurer John Helps presented the accounts for the year end (31 December 2017), which were proposed by Sean Martin, seconded by Paul Allcock and formally adopted.

Claire Day, SAIF’s Quality Assessor Manager, highlighted the issues that had been raised again around health and safety, also mentioning how the regulations in Scotland when adopted by the rest of the UK will impact significantly on the members and their processes for the care of the deceased and families.

Claire also gave personal thanks to the Quality Assessors for their support during the year and for their dedication in helping to achieve SAIF’s stance on ‘Quality over Quantity’.

Scottish SAIF Government Liaison Jim Brodie provided a synopsis of the impending changes to the regulations in Scotland as well as giving thanks to Mark Porteous and congratulating Paul Stevenson as the new Scottish SAIF President.

The IFD College Chairperson Chris Parker explained there had never been a better time to train staff. Chris mentioned the partnership with the BIFD (the British Institute of Funeral Directors) collaboratively working together to deliver courses for new entrants up to and including graduate level. There will be a new level 3 unit that has been accredited by One Awards on ‘Funerals for Children and Child Bereavement’ due to be delivered from autumn 2018. She also handed certificates to Daniel Ginder and Inez Kinton.

Mark Woollard, Membership Manager, explained the rise in membership applications and the rigorous application process. He also mentioned the ‘probationary process’ which gives those wanting to sign up with SAIF with less than the requisite experience an opportunity to join. Due to work commitments, he and Mark Horton will be stepping down from the role but SAIF will be working with Golden Charter’s Business Development Managers.

Terry Tennens, on behalf of Richard Edwards, Standards Chairman, gave an update on the complaints received during the year, outlining the details of the client complaints and highlighting to members that Procedural Errors and Professional Conduct were the two main reasons, as well as conflict with families. Terry mentioned that SAIF has renewed the contract for conciliation and arbitration services with CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), which has replaced IDRS.

Catherine Betley provided further information relating to SAIFSupport and SAIF Care, explaining that these are class-leading services and they want to be the biggest provider of bereavement care in the UK.

The SAIFInsure report was presented by Terry Tennens and Brian Hart. It was explained that due to Lark Underwriting moving their claims service to a call centre, and not delivering on marketing the service via the website, the Executive made the decision to cease their contract with Lark and move to Unicorn. Brian mentioned the service offered to members would always be a personal claims service and the products reflect that professionalism, with the additional benefit of GDPR cover in the cyber liability extension cover that is class leading.

The PR report was given by Paul Allcock who highlighted the work of Genesis PR during the year, including the subs renewal page on the SAIF website. Paul also presented the government relations briefing on key areas such as cremation forms.

Ross Hickton and Daniel Ginder discussed the plans for NextGen and how the future leaders in business can have an impact on the funeral profession. The Three Peaks Challenge was also mentioned, with proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

This was followed by SAIFCharter Chairperson Julian Walker, who updated members with the SAIFCharter report, and Suzanne Grahame, the new Golden Charter CEO, who took various questions from the floor in relation to the perceived lack of communication between SAIFCharter and their members, as well as incorrect literature produced.

Golden Charter was then represented by Suzanne Grahame who updated members on her first 100 days in office and her vision for the future.

Proposed changes to SAIF Articles of Association and Rules and By-Laws were proposed by Justin Burgess and seconded by Sean Martin. The document in full can be located on the secure members’ area.

Gary Staker and Nigel Appleby stood down from their roles as SAIF National Executive Committee Members. Elected to the National Executive Committee by proxy vote were Ross Hickton, Daniel Ginder, Paul Allcock, Gemma O’Driscoll and Darren Carpenter. There were also nominations for Director positions, with Chris Parker and Sean Martin being elected by ‘show of hands’.

Charity of the year: Great Ormond Street Hospital

Alun Tucker, President elect, gave his welcoming speech advising that his chosen charity during his year in office will be Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The meeting was formally closed at 12.45pm.

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