Freedom to Choose Your Grave Plaque Supplier?
This week I had a chat with one of the staff at Victoria’s Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT). I wanted to know about their attitude to fair and open trading. I was wondering if they were open to their clients choosing the kinds of grave plaques and headstones they use to honour and celebrate their loved ones.
I was told SMCT adheres to a clear policy of competitive neutrality:
“Funeral directors can’t be masons. Masons can’t be funeral directors.”SMCT adheres to a clear policy of competitive neutrality Click To Tweet
It seems if my memorial fits the cemetery guidelines I can choose any supplier I like.
Unlike the WA Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB), SMCT doesn’t compel me to buy my grave plaque or headstone from the cemetery.
When I asked the staff at the MCB’s Fremantle Cemetery the same questions I was told I had to use their suppliers. When I questioned them about choosing my own supplier I was told “No. It can’t be done.”
SMCT’s competitive neutrality policy
My contact at SMCT suggested I check out their Code of Practice “Relating to the sale and supply of memorialisation goods and services by cemetery trusts and other alternative suppliers in Victorian public cemeteries”.
The Code mentions competitive neutrality ten times. So I assume they’re serious about the idea.
But what exactly do they mean by competitive neutrality? I found this definition:
“Competitive neutrality is the recognition that significant government business activities which are in competition with the private sector should not have a competitive advantage or disadvantage simply by virtue of government ownership and control.”
The WA Metropolitan Cemeteries Board needs a competitive neutrality policy
A quick Google search unearthed the Government of Western Australia’s 1996 Policy Statement on Competitive Neutrality.
Has this document been gathering dust for 20 years? It certainly hasn’t been inspiring fair and open trading at the WA Metropolitan Cemeteries Board.
Maybe you can help?
At Forever Shining we are committed to giving you the freedom to create a unique grave plaque or monument reflecting your loved one’s special personality. We’re working hard to dispel the myth that you have to buy your memorial from the cemetery.
Let's dispel the myth that you have to buy your memorial from the cemetery Click To Tweet
We’d like you to call your local cemetery and ask them about using an alternative supplier to manufacture your memorial. Tell us what they say in a comment here or in a direct email.