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Registration of Births Deaths Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make written records of births, marriages and deaths available to the public in the Family Records Centre until the online records are accessible by the public; and if he will make a statement. (162338)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 November 2007:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking if written records of births, marriages and deaths will be made available to the public in the Family Records Centre until the online records are accessible by the public. (162338)

The paper volumes of birth, marriage and death indexes were removed from the Family Records Centre and placed in secure storage during October. Copies of indexes on microfiche, which are exact copies of the paper volumes, will be available at the Centre up to its closure in early 2008, with back-up arrangements under which customers who find the microfiche difficult to read can be advised by staff who have access to the paper records. From April 2008 The National Archives will continue to hold microfiche copies of the indexes.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations took place with (a) family history societies, (b) his Department and (c) other interested persons, prior to the removal of the paper records from the Family Records Office over the weekend of 27 to 28 October; and if he will make a statement. (162405)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 November 2007:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what consultations took place with (a) family history societies, (b) his Department and (c) other interested persons, prior to the removal of the paper records from the Family Records Office over the weekend of 27th to 28th October. (162405)

The General Register Office (GRO) announced the proposed timing for the removal of paper records from public access at a meeting on 25 July of the Family Records Centre User Group, which is attended by the main genealogical and family history societies. GRO invited members of the User Group to put forward views about how the proposed arrangements could be improved. At the same time a notification was posted on GRO’s website and sent to the genealogical press. Large posters were displayed in the FRC in multiple locations notifying customers of the changes, together with a timetable.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reasons are for the delay in providing the online version of the births, deaths and marriages registers; for what penalties the contractor will be liable as a result; and if he will make a statement. (162406)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 November 2007:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the reasons for the delay in providing the online version of the births, deaths and marriages registers and what penalties the contractor will be liable to as a result. (162406)

Following approval of a business case, a high-level requirements specification for such a system was undertaken in late 2006 and early 2007. The results of this work were not in line with some of the assumptions in the business case and it was decided not to proceed with the project at that point. No supplier is liable for delays.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) original and (b) most recent estimated date was by which the online version of the registers of births, deaths and marriages will be accessible by the public. (162407)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 November 2007:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the (a) original and (b) most recent estimated date by which the online version of the registers of births, deaths and marriages will be accessible by the public. 162407

At the time of the original business case approval for the system, it was hoped that it would be available to access some index data by early 2008. Subject to agreement of a viable revised business case, and confirmation of funding, it is hoped that a system for on-line access can be in place during 2009.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) original and (b) most recent estimated cost was of the project to provide an online version of the registers of births, deaths and marriages provided by the General Register Office. (162408)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 13 November 2007:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the (a) original and (b) most recent estimated cost was of the project to provide an online version of the registers of births, deaths and marriages provided by the General Register Office. (162408)

The cost set out in the original business case was just over 4.5million. A revised business case has yet to be approved.