Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventh Report



APPENDIX I

Memorandum by the Office for National Statistics

REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES (FEES) ORDER 1998 (S.I. 1998/3171)

1.  The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point relating to the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Fees) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/3171).

    In respect of the fees payable under the Savings Bank Act 1887, the Factories Act 1961, the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Education Act 1996, explain the reason for the new fee differential (6.50 as against 3.50) according as the document is issued by a superintendent registrar (or in the first case by a person other than a registrar) or by a registrar.

2.  Certificates of birth, death and marriage can only be issued by the person who has custody of the register in which the event is recorded. Registrars have custody of the birth, death and marriage registers in current use and any that they have filled within the previous 28 days. After 28 days a registrar deposits a filled birth, death or marriage register with the superintendent registrar, who has custody of all the registers for the district deposited since 1837. Marriage registers are also kept, in duplicate, by incumbents of the Church of England, Secretaries of Synagogues, Registering Officers of the Society of Friends and Authorised Persons (keepers of marriage registers in all other places of religious marriage). When filled, one register is deposited with the superintendent registrar of the district and the other is retained. On taking custody of any filled register, the superintendent registrar is required to index it and place it in the register office repository.

3.  Registrars usually issue certificates at the time of the registration when the entry concerned will be immediately available. When a registrar issues a certificate subsequently, the register will either still be in use or have been filled recently and the entry concerned will be readily available. A fee of 3.50 is payable for every certificate issued by a registrar, including those under the Savings Bank Act 1887, the Factories Act 1961, the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Education Act 1996. This reflects the cost of a registrar producing a certificate.

4.  Superintendent registrars issue certificates from deposited registers. This will inevitably entail a search of the indexes to identify the register containing the entry and the entry itself. This process adds significantly to the cost of producing a certificate. A certificate issued by a superintendent registrar under the Savings Bank Act 1887, the Factories Act 1961, the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Education Act 1996 costs the same to produce as a standard full certificate, for which the fee is 6.50. A fee of 6.50 for a certificate issued under these four Acts by a superintendent registrar will reflect the cost of producing that certificate.

5.  Incumbents of the Church of England, Secretaries of Synagogues, Registering Officers of the Society of Friends and Authorised Persons may also issue marriage certificates under the Savings Bank Act 1887 and the Social Security Administration Act 1992. In practice these certificates are rarely issued. However, when an application for such a certificate is made after the time of registration, the work for these persons in issuing the certificate is the same as for a standard marriage certificate, for which the fee is 6.50. The Order will apply parity of fees in these circumstances as far as the Savings Bank Act 1887 is concerned. Unfortunately, there is an omission in the Order in that there is no mention of certificates issued by these persons under the Social Security Administration Act 1992. We shall be making an amending Order to supply this omission shortly.

6.  For information, in the 1997/8 financial year, superintendent registrars issued 7,889 certificates under these four Acts (6,304 birth, 249 death and 1,336 marriage) out of a total of 1,031,267 certificates. Over the same period, registrars issued 2,270 such certificates (308 birth, 1,834 death and 128 marriage) out of a total of 2,768,772 certificates.

25th January 1999


 
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