Prime Minister urged to listen after end of life petition hits target

Over 17,500 supporters demand new Bereavement Standard

July 31, 2020


The Prime Minister has been urged to listen to thousands of families across the UK who are demanding better treatment for the newly bereaved.

In the past week, more than 17,500 people have signed a petition on calling for a new Bereavement Standard to reduce stress and upset for grieving families who have to spend weeks closing the accounts of loved ones who have died.

Mother and daughter, Julie and Vicky Wilson launched the petition following the death of an elderly relative. It took the pair more than six weeks to close the accounts of Vicky’s gran, June, after multiple calls and emails to service providers.

By earlier today (Friday), the petition had notched up more than 17,500 supporters calling on the government to set an agreed Standard for bereavement case account closures, which service providers would have to meet. The petition has the backing of leading bereavement charity, Cruse Bereavement Care.

Julie and Vicky have since founded an online account closure service, called Settld. The free service to the public will automate end of life admin, speeding up the often protracted and painful process faced by those closing personal and household accounts of someone who has died. Individuals who sign up will be able to inform multiple companies of a death in one go.

Julie Wilson, co-founder of Settld and a registered Funeral Celebrant, said: "It's clear, from the rising numbers of people signing our petition, that bereaved families across the UK have had enough of being poorly treated when they have just lost loved ones. It's time for action, and it's time that the Prime Minister and the Minister for Bereavement listened to the voices of the bereaved. We need a Bereavement Standard to lighten the end of life admin load for those who are grappling with grief."

Across the UK, more than 600,000 people die every year. Currently, there is no approved process for closing accounts when someone dies – some companies demand a death certificate before closing an account, others seek different proof and paperwork. It can take more than a month, with repeated calls, to close just one account. Most individuals have up to 20 utility, mobile, broadband, TV subscription, and other household service accounts which need to be closed.

Co-founder, Vicky Wilson, added: "We have held extremely positive talks recently with service providers, charities, even regulators and there is certainly a consensus from these organisations to bring an end to unnecessary red tape and to make things easier for those who are dealing with end of life admin for their loved ones. With the political will we can ensure that the coronavirus pandemic has at least brought about a change for the better for families dealing with grief."

Sarah Gigg, Director of Nursing at Sue Ryder, which supports a new Bereavement Standard, said: "We can and must do better at supporting those coping with bereavement. The long process of notifying businesses and closing accounts after someone has died is a significant emotional burden for people at what can be the most difficult time of their lives."

"When grieving, worrying about admin and navigating complex bureaucratic processes can be unbearable. It is also unnecessary - if companies simplified their processes, it would save those bereaved from hours of phone calls and sorting of paperwork.

"In light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to an increase in the number of people grieving, it is vital we provide extra practical support. We urge companies to exercise compassion by adopting the Bereavement Standard."

The Bereavement Standard would set a time limit for account closures, standardise paperwork and documents required, and ensure service providers had dedicated bereavement channels available to customers.

For further details, please contact:
Tim Reid
07720 414205