Scottish SAIF AGM 2019

words: Jim Brodie, SAIF Scotland Government Liaison Officer

The Scottish SAIF AGM evening was held on 21 February at McDiarmid Park, Perth, the home of St Johnstone FC. Fortunately, the team managed to avoid European qualification, so Scottish SAIF had the whole 11,000 capacity to themselves. The meeting was well-attended with many first time and returning members.

The AGM was chaired by Scottish SAIF President Paul Stevenson, who welcomed members and began his second year in office with news there would be little change to the Executive apart from the phased retirement of the Membership Secretary and Treasurer Alan Morrison.

Alan has been an office bearer and Past President of Scottish SAIF and served in his current posts with distinction for more than 10 years. He will liaise with our new Treasurer Declan Maguire, the latest recruit on the Scottish SAIF Executive, and also with Secretary Gavin Henshelwood, who will take on the Membership Secretary role going forward. A huge thank you to Alan and the Scottish SAIF Executive, all volunteers who freely give up many hours of their time to help their fellow professionals.

The members were also introduced to the Scottish NextGen co-ordinator Sarah Brodie who spoke on the purpose and benefits of the National SAIF initiative for the next generation of funeral business leaders.

The SAIFCharter report, incorporating Golden Charter, was delivered by SAIF Scotland Shareholder Board member Jim Brodie who reminded members of the changes coming in April with the removal of the Will and the new initiative which will give enhanced support for members who are looking to combat new model competitors and embrace pre-need marketing promoting at-need services. Members will shortly be contacted by their ABMs and RBMs to engage in a business review.

A warm welcome

The meeting was then opened to the invited guests from the Scottish Government team – the Inspector of Cremation, Bert Swanson, accompanied by Cheryl Paris and Katrina McNeill. The pace of regulatory change in Scotland has seen an increase in the desire for members to seek advice on these changes. The passing of the Cremation Scotland Act 2019 being the next step of the Burial and Cremation Act (Scotland) 2016 whereby, after three years of consultation and deliberations, the new A Forms will become law in Scottish crematoriums from 4 April 2019.

These new statutory forms are the most up to date in existence. Numbered 1-7, they cover any eventuality of legal requirement for cremation.

A lively discussion point was the requirement for the combined weight on the application form. Some firms already have the facility to weigh the coffin accurately, but the guidance requires only an accurate estimation, so the cremation authority is forewarned of any possible risk.

The Scottish Government and Inspector Bert Swanson will make sure that every crematorium in Scotland will have all the information and advice in place to ensure a smooth transfer into the new forms. The advice he gave was that he wanted common sense to prevail and the bereaved wouldn’t be affected by this long-awaited update.

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