9 October 2021
The collaboration between funeral sector organisations to create the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG) as a single point of contact for Government, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been recognised with a national award.
In a submission for the ‘Best Partnership or Collaboration’ category at the Association Excellence Awards 2021, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) set out how, in March 2020, the need to provide a consistent and coordinated point of contact with the UK’s regional and national governments led seven funeral sector organisations to agree to collaborate in order to be able to better support not only their members – but society as a whole.
DMAG was set up by the Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers Association, the Cremation Society, the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, The Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries, The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the NAFD – and it continues to meet regularly with Government, almost 18 months later.
The submission also highlighted the Government’s gratitude to the sector for its collaborative approach, quoting feedback from a senior civil servant who said: “The existence of DMAG has been incredibly useful for policy development as the group could offer a united perspective from the industry,” The comments follow a letter of thanks from Nadine Dorries MP, the then Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, who echoed the comments of the civil servants, saying: “I recognise the considerable work that everyone working in the death management sector continues to carry out to protect the dignity of the deceased and to provide support to the bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic. I and other Ministers across government are very grateful for everything members of the Deceased Management Advisory Group are doing, to ensure funerals can continue whilst minimising the risk to both mourners and staff – and we are committed to continuing to work with the sector to meet this objective.”
In their feedback, the judges praised DMAG for its excellent collaborative approach, clear impact and said that it was a “strong submission depicting the exemplary value of working in unison to serve the interests of vulnerable groups more effectively. The high-level feedback is testament to the Group’s commitment to inform key decision-makers and influence policy for positive impact and unselfish gain, giving vital visibility to the sector at a time of desperate need.”