How we're working with communities to improve bereavement services

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities talks about how the council is working with communities to improve the city’s bereavement services.

The loss of a loved one is a difficult and harrowing time for families, friends and communities.

We’re collaborating with our communities to ensure that we address their concerns and meet their needs and wishes when they have to deal with the loss of a friend or relative.

Members of the Muslim community have specifically raised issues with us and as a response we recently held the first meeting of a new steering group.

This group includes representatives from the Muslim Burial Council who will be working with us to deliver improvements that we all want to see to Birmingham’s bereavement services. 

We will be extending this work to other faith groups across the city.

Together, we’ve agreed a plan and are already putting it into action. We will be:

  • Ensuring we have extra staff in place to help our community to lay their loved ones to rest quickly and in accordance with their religious beliefs.
  • We are extending opening times at our cemeteries to make it easier to arrange burials.
  • Working with the NHS and other agencies to prevent unnecessary delays to the registration of deaths and the release of the remains of loved ones.
  • Working together on a plan to ensure we have permanent facilities available for a digital autopsy scanner here in Birmingham.
  • Working closely with faith and community leaders to address any issues any delays in burials and to make sure that our services reflect the needs and faith traditions of our city’s diverse communities

In addition to this we have refreshed our Bereavement Services Charter to further underpin our ambitions to make improvements that will benefit all communities when it comes to the death of a loved one.

Our renewed charter contains 14 pledges which will provide a framework for delivering improvements, with the aim to see our service become the service of choice for our citizens. These will include:

  • providing burial services of choice for our communities (where feasible);
  • establishing ‘Friends’ groups for sites where there is public interest;
  • benchmarking our service with other similar providers; and
  • using customer feedback to inform these pledged improvements.

I am determined that by working together, we will ensure that Birmingham’s Bereavement Services provide the care, support and respect that all communities need at what is perhaps the most difficult of times.


This blog post was published on 10 October 2022

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