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Bereavement is a unique but universal experience. It brings many challenges, and despite the spotlight on grief and bereavement during the pandemic, national policy responses lack consistency.

The General Election 2024 provides an important opportunity to address this and prioritise the needs of bereaved people.

Bereavement is everyone’s business, the landmark report from the independent UK Commission on Bereavement (2022) highlighted practical ways to improve bereavement support. Building on these recommendations, the National Bereavement Alliance and Childhood Bereavement Network have set out priority actions for the next government that would help mitigate the effects of grief and bereavement.

  • Facilitate conversations on grief, promoting compassionate communities by
    • Supporting public awareness campaigns so that talking about death, dying and bereavement isn’t taboo.
    • Helping children and young people develop the skills to support themselves and others by learning and understanding about grief and bereavement at school.
  • Support bereaved people in their places of learning and work by
    • Providing non-statutory bereavement guidance, ensuring all schools are aware of their bereaved pupils and have Bereavement Plans in place to meet their needs, including time off if needed, help with homework and exams and pathways to extra support.
    • Introducing paid bereavement leave for employees over 16 years of age when a partner, parent or child dies.
  • Reduce financial vulnerability in bereavement by
    • Asking the Financial Conduct Authority to review and develop minimum standards for dealing with bereaved customers.
    • Legislating so that all bereaved people get the information and help they need in paying for a funeral and securing their home and income, including paying Bereavement Support Payment for longer and uprating funeral and bereavement benefits in line with relevant inflation.
  • Strengthen the provision of bereavement support by
    • Investing sustainably in bereavement services and research over the next spending review period and beyond, so that children, young people and adults get the right help at the right time.
    • Providing guidance to local health and care systems and networks on how to integrate and signpost to bereavement support, so everyone knows about the help available.

How these recommendations were developed

Bereavement is everyone’s business, the landmark report from the independent UK Commission on Bereavement (UKCB) (2022), highlighted priorities to address the challenges of bereavement. From the largest consultation of bereaved children, young people and adults across the United Kingdom, 27 recommendations were developed to support bereaved children, young people and individuals.

The National Bereavement Alliance carried out a further priority setting exercise with children, young people and adults in late 2023, and the recommendations set out above emerged as the key actions that could improve support.

They sit alongside further recommendations highlighted in the UKCB report. You can find more information about the UKCB report here, alongside individual briefings for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.