Dundee funeral directors are being urged to get involved in a new scheme to alleviate funeral poverty in the city.
Dundee City Council has begun a tendering process, and is appealing for interested parties to get in touch, after which they will be asked to submit pricing based on an agreed list of services.
The Dundee Funeral Poverty Action Group (DFPAG) estimates there are, on average, 1,600 deaths per year in the city, with 400 having lived in the 15% most deprived areas.
A separate recent report revealed there were around 20 paupers’ funerals held in Dundee every year.
A funeral in the city costs £3,833 on average – the most expensive in Scotland.
The new scheme is aimed at providing a “respectful funeral package” for to members of the public at a lower cost than the Scottish average of £3,716.
Elaine Zwirlein, executive director of Dundee City Council’s Neighbourhood Services, said: “Funeral directors frequently require a deposit to be paid to cover costs such as interment or cremation fees.
“These deposits are usually around £1,000 but can be as high as £1,900. Clients on low incomes can face these high charges.
“On occasion, if it appears that they may be unable to meet the full cost of a funeral, they may be denied.
“These findings led the Dundee Partnership to apply to the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Fund for a project to tackle funeral poverty in Dundee.
“It is anticipated that tendered bids will offer reductions in the fees for undertakers’ services.”
Dundee City Council was not able to specify whether it has already had bids or any interest expressed, due to the tender process being live.
The local authority has been looking to other areas for inspiration, with East Ayrshire Council having already implemented a similar scheme.
Ms Zwirlein added: “There will be minor financial implications relating to staffing and promotion costs, although these can be contained within the existing neighbourhood services revenue budget.”
Neighbourhood services convener Kevin Cordell said: “This is the next step in our journey to develop a respectful funeral package to members of the public with the aim of providing these at a cost below the national average for a burial.
“At a time of grieving, it is important that as much of the planning as possible can be undertaken by someone else to help relieve families of added stress and worry.”
The deadline for expressions of interest is January 7 and they can be submitted to Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org