The FFMA has an important role within the funeral and cremation sector, including an active and continuing dialogue with various government departments on the many technical issues that affect the industry. With ever-changing legislation it is essential for all bodies within the sector to be aware of central requirements. Over the years, the involvement of the FFMA in various contentious issues has ensured continuation of supplies to the funeral trade; we shall ensure that this service continues.

Brief History

In the early years, manufacturers of furniture and goods to the funeral trade were represented in the form of a Trade Secretary who, at the time, was a Mr Hands of Messrs Hands and Company, Chartered Accountants. During this period, many trade associations were represented in this manner. In 1939, with the advent of ever-increasing legislation and the forming of other allied trade organisations, the FFMA was created. There was representation from the Coffin Furniture Manufacturers, The Soft Goods and Woodwork Association, Hearse and Limousine Manufacturers and Insurance Brokers.

In 1967, the FFMA was represented at the Llandudno Conference and held a forum, which outlined the basis of the Association and the agreed trade specifications. In the past, the Association has made a point of contributing a regular dialogue with various government departments. As a result, during the “three day week” in the early 1970’s, manufacturers were given permission to work normally. In addition, during the industrial disputes of 1977, approval was sought, and obtained, for the delivery of materials essential to the funeral trade. This special relationship ensured continuity of supplies to funeral directors.

In more recent times, FFMA representatives were involved in extensive work with crematoria manufacturers, the cremation authorities and many other national bodies to resolve the question of smoke emissions. Recently, during the fuel shortages, the FFMA arranged for special allocations of fuel to ensure continuity. In all instances, the involvement of the Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association has ensured continuity of supplies to the funeral director.

During 2003/4/5 the FFMA were consulted to assist in the revised process guidance notes set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to limit pollution and mercury emissions to the air from crematoriums. Had we failed, coffins used for cremation may not have been allowed.

In 2008, the FFMA was a leader in the planning for the potential flu pandemic – meetings were held with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) who outlined the government plans to deal with such an emergency. FFMA were requested to contact some 65 suppliers to ascertain their capabilities as to how production could be increased. The MOJ retains our survey for future use.

Early in 2012, we were contacted by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA), who reported various problems with cremating certain alternative products. A working party was set up to find a protocol for coffin testing to ensure all coffins meet standards that ensure they are fit for purpose.

2017 is the year our funeral industry moves forward once again. The FFMA and the Cremations Associations are no longer thinking or in negotiations with regards to the Coffin & Casket Protocol. With the support of the Funeral Requisite Manufacture’s and the UK Crematoria – The Funeral Furnishing Manufacture’s Coffin and Casket Protocol is up and running.